DNA degradation is a biochemical hallmark in apoptosis. It has been demonstrated in many cell types that there are two stages of DNA fragmentation during the apoptotic execution. In the early stage, chromatin DNA is cut into large molecular weight DNA fragments, although the responsible nuclease(s) has not been recognized. In the late stage, the chromatin DNA is cleaved further into short oligonucleosomal fragments by a well-characterized nuclease in apoptosis, the caspase-activated DNase (CAD/DFF40). In this study, we demonstrate that large molecular weight DNA fragmentation also occurs in Xenopus egg extracts in apoptosis. We show that the large molecular weight DNA fragmentation factor (LDFF) is not the Xenopus CAD homolog XCAD. LDFF is activated by caspase-3. The large molecular weight DNA fragmentation activity of LDFF is Mg2+-dependent and Ca2+-independent, can occur in both acidic and neutral pH conditions and can tolerate 45°C treatment. These results indicate that LDFF in Xenopus egg extracts might be a new DNase (or DNases) responsible for the large DNA fragmentation.
- Caspase-activated DNase (CAD)
- Large molecular weight DNA fragmentation factor (LDFF)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology