The pro-apoptotic BH3-only members of the Bcl2 family, crucial initiators of cell death, are activated by a diverse array of developmental cues or experimentally applied stress stimuli. We have investigated, through gene targeting in mice, the biological roles for the BH3-only family member HRK (also known as DP5) in apoptosis regulation. Hrk gene expression was found to be restricted to cells and tissues of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Sensory neurons from mice lacking Hrk were less sensitive to apoptosis induced by nerve growth factor (NGF) withdrawal, consistent with the induction of Hrk following NGF deprivation. By contrast, cerebellar granule neurons that upregulate Hrk upon transfer to low-K+ medium underwent apoptosis normally under these conditions in the absence of Hrk. Furthermore, loss of Hrk was not sufficient to rescue the neuronal degeneration in lurcher mutant mice. Despite previous reports, no evidence was found for Hrk expression or induction in growth-factor-dependent haematopoietic cell lines following withdrawal of their requisite cytokine, and haematopoietic progenitors lacking HRK died normally in response to cytokine deprivation. These results demonstrate that HRK contributes to apoptosis signalling elicited by trophic factor withdrawal in certain neuronal populations but is dispensable for apoptosis of haematopoietic cells.
|Pages (from-to)||2044 - 2052|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Cell Science|
|Issue number||Pt. 12|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|