TRPM2 is an ion channel that modulates hematopoietic cell death through activation of caspases and PARP cleavage

Wenyi Zhang, Iwona Hirschler-Laszkiewicz, Qin Tong, Kathleen Conrad, Shao-Cong Sun, Linda Penn, Dwayne L Barber, Richard Stahl, David J Carey, Joseph Y Cheung, Barbara A Miller
American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology 2006, 290 (4): C1146-59
TRPM2 is a Ca(2+)-permeable channel activated by oxidative stress or TNF-alpha, and TRPM2 activation confers susceptibility to cell death. The mechanisms were examined here in human monocytic U937-ecoR cells. This cell line expresses full-length TRPM2 (TRPM2-L) and several isoforms including a short splice variant lacking the Ca(2+)-permeable pore region (TRPM2-S), which functions as a dominant negative. Treatment with H(2)O(2), a model of oxidative stress, or TNF-alpha results in reduced cell viability. Expression of TRPM2-L and TRPM2-S was modulated by retroviral infection. U937-ecoR cells expressing increased levels of TRPM2-L were treated with H(2)O(2) or TNF-alpha, and these cells exhibited significantly increased intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)), decreased viability, and increased apoptosis. A dramatic increase in cleavage of caspases-8, -9, -3, and -7 and poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP) was observed, demonstrating a downstream mechanism through which cell death is mediated. Bcl-2 levels were unchanged. Inhibition of the [Ca(2+)](i) rise with the intracellular Ca(2+) chelator BAPTA blocked caspase/PARP cleavage and cell death induced after activation of TRPM2-L, demonstrating the critical role of [Ca(2+)](i) in mediating these effects. Downregulation of endogenous TRPM2 by RNA interference or increased expression of TRPM2-S inhibited the rise in [Ca(2+)](i), enhanced cell viability, and reduced numbers of apoptotic cells after exposure to oxidative stress or TNF-alpha, demonstrating the physiological importance of TRPM2. Our data show that one mechanism through which oxidative stress or TNF-alpha mediates cell death is activation of TRPM2, resulting in increased [Ca(2+)](i), followed by caspase activation and PARP cleavage. Inhibition of TRPM2-L function by reduction in TRPM2 levels, interaction with TRPM2-S, or Ca(2+) chelation antagonizes this important cell death pathway.

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