Deregulation of Cdc2 kinase induces caspase-3 activation and apoptosis
CDC2 Protein Kinase
Progression of the cell cycle and control of apoptosis are tightly linked processes. It has been reported that manifestation of apoptosis requires cdc2 kinase activity yet the mechanism(s) of which is largely unclear. In an attempt to study the role of human MDM2 (HDM2) in interphase and mitosis, we employed the Xenopus cell-free system to study HDM2 protein stability. Interestingly, HDM2 is specifically cleaved in Xenopus mitotic extracts but not in the interphase extracts. We demonstrate that HDM2 cleavage is dependent on caspase-3 and that activation of cdc2 kinase results in caspase-3 activation in the Xenopus cell-free system. Furthermore, expression of cdc2 kinase in mammalian cells leads to activation of caspase-3 and apoptosis. Taken together, these data indicate that deregulation of cdc2 kinase activity can trigger apoptotic machinery that leads to caspase-3 activation and apoptosis.