Glutathione depletion regulates both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic signaling cascades independent from multidrug resistance protein 1

Rodrigo Franco, Carl D. Bortner, Ingo Schmitz, John A. Cidlowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Glutathione (GSH) depletion is an important hallmark of apoptosis. We previously demonstrated that GSH depletion, by its efflux, regulates apoptosis by modulation of executioner caspase activity. However, both the molecular identity of the GSH transporter(s) involved and the signaling cascades regulating GSH loss remain obscure. We sought to determine the role of multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP1) in GSH depletion and its regulatory role on extrinsic and intrinsic pathways of apoptosis. In human lymphoma cells, GSH depletion was stimulated rather than inhibited by pharmacological blockage of MRP1 with MK571. GSH loss was dependent on initiator caspases 8 and 9 activity. Genetic knock-down ([60 %) of MRP1 by stable transfection with short hairpin small interfering RNA significantly reduced MRP1 protein levels, which correlated directly with the loss of MRP1-mediated anion transport. However, GSH depletion and apoptosis induced by both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways were not affected by MRP1 knock-down. Interestingly, stimulation of GSH loss by MK571 also enhanced the initiator phase of apoptosis by stimulating initiator caspase 8 and 9 activity and pro-Apoptotic BCL-2 interacting domain cleavage. Our results clearly show that caspase-dependent GSH loss and apoptosis are not mediated by MRP1 proteins and that GSH depletion stimulates the initiation phase of apoptosis in lymphoid cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Extrinsic
  • Glutathione
  • Intrinsic
  • MK571
  • MRP1
  • Multidrug resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cancer Research

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