Constitutive apoptosis in human neutrophils requires synergy between calpains and the proteasome downstream of caspases

Birgit Knepper-Nicolai, John Savill, Simon B Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Programmed cell death invariably requires the activation of proteolytic cascades that are not yet well defined but are initiated after apical caspase activation. We provide evidence that calpains and the proteasome function synergistically downstream of caspases to assist the constitutive apoptotic program of aging neutrophils, which plays an important role in resolution of inflammatory responses. Inhibitor studies indicated that "tethering" of preapoptotic senescent neutrophils to human macrophages required caspase activity. However, the development of morphological features characteristic of apoptosis, including nuclear morphology, PS exposure, surface protein shedding, and the capacity to be ingested by macrophages, required the downstream action of either calpains or the proteasome. Calpain activities were constitutively active in freshly isolated neutrophils and responsible for rearrangements in the protein composition and structure of the plasmalemmal cytoskeleton as they aged in culture and underwent apoptosis. This included a dissociation of protein(s) from F-actin, a candidate mechanism for increased susceptibility to cleavage, and a loss in immunodetectable alpha-actinin and ezrin, two actin-binding, membrane-anchoring proteins. These results clarify roles for different classes of proteases in a physiologically important form of constitutive apoptosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30530-6
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


Dive into the research topics of 'Constitutive apoptosis in human neutrophils requires synergy between calpains and the proteasome downstream of caspases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this