The small heat shock protein alpha B-crystallin negatively regulates apoptosis during myogenic differentiation by inhibiting caspase-3 activation
Kamradt, M.C.; Chen, F.; Sam, S.; Cryns, V.L.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 277(41): 38731-38736
Myoblasts respond to growth factor deprivation either by differentiating into multinucleated myotubes or by undergoing apoptosis; hence, the acquisition of apoptosis resistance by myogenic precursors is essential for their development. Here we demonstrate that the expression of the small heat shock protein alpha B-crystallin is selectively induced in C2C12 myoblasts that are resistant to differentiation-induced apoptosis, and we show that this induction occurs at an early stage in their differentiation in vitro. In contrast, the expression of several known anti-apoptotic proteins (FLIP, XIAP, Bcl-x(L)) was not altered during myogenesis. We also demonstrate that ectopic expression of alpha B-crystallin, but not the closely related small heat shock protein Hsp27, renders C2C12 myoblasts resistant to differentiation-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, we show that the myopathy-causing R120G alpha B-crystallin mutant is partly impaired in its cytoprotective function, whereas a pseudophosphorylation alpha B-crystallin mutant that mimics stress-induced phosphorylation is completely devoid of anti-apoptotic activity. Finally, we demonstrate that alpha B-crystallin negatively regulates apoptosis during myogenesis by inhibiting the proteolytic activation of caspase-3, whereas the R120G and pseudophosphorylation mutants are defective in this function. Taken together, our findings indicate that alpha B-crystallin is a novel negative regulator of myogenic apoptosis that directly links the differentiation program to apoptosis resistance.