A relatively low level of ribosome depurination by mutant forms of ricin toxin A chain can trigger protein synthesis inhibition, cell signaling and apoptosis in mammalian cells

Amanda E. Jetzt, Ju Shun Cheng, Xiao Ping Li, Nilgun E. Tumer, Wendie S. Cohick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The A chain of the plant toxin ricin (RTA) is an N-glycosidase that inhibits protein synthesis by removing a specific adenine from the 28S rRNA. RTA also induces ribotoxic stress, which activates stress-induced cell signaling cascades and apoptosis. However, the mechanistic relationship between depurination, protein synthesis inhibition and apoptosis remains an open question. We previously identified two RTA mutants that suggested partial independence of these processes in a yeast model. The goals of this study were to establish an endogenous RTA expression system in mammalian cells and utilize RTA mutants to examine the relationship between depurination, protein synthesis inhibition, cell signaling and apoptosis in mammalian cells. The non-transformed epithelial cell line MAC-T was transiently transfected with plasmid vectors encoding precursor (pre) or mature forms of wild-type (WT) RTA or mutants. PreRTA was glycosylated indicating that the native signal peptide targeted RTA to the ER in mammalian cells. Mature RTA was not glycosylated and thus served as a control to detect changes in catalytic activity. Both pre- and mature WT RTA induced ribosome depurination, protein synthesis inhibition, activation of cell signaling and apoptosis. Analysis of RTA mutants showed for the first time that depurination can be reduced by 40% in mammalian cells with minimal effects on inhibition of protein synthesis, activation of cell signaling and apoptosis. We further show that protein synthesis inhibition by RTA correlates more linearly with apoptosis than ribosome depurination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2204-2211
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Volume44
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Mammalian cells
  • Mutants
  • Ribosome depurination
  • Ricin toxin A chain
  • Signal transduction

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