Oxidative stress can cause apoptosis in neurons and may result in neurodegenerative diseases. However, the signaling mechanisms leading to oxidative stress–induced neuronal apoptosis are not fully understood. Oxidative stress stimulates aberrant activation of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5), thought to promote neuronal apoptosis by phosphorylating many cell death-related substrates. Here, using protein pulldown methods, immunofluorescence experiments and in vitro kinase assays, we identified chloride intracellular channel 4 (CLIC4), the expression of which increases during neuronal apoptosis, as a CDK5 substrate. We found that activated CDK5 phosphorylated serine 108 in CLIC4, increasing CLIC4 protein stability, and accumulation. Pharmacological inhibition or shRNA-mediated silencing of CDK5 decreased CLIC4 levels in neurons. Moreover, CLIC4 overexpression led to neuronal apoptosis, whereas knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of CLIC4 attenuated H2O2-induced neuronal apoptosis. These results implied that CLIC4, by acting as a substrate of CDK5, mediated neuronal apoptosis induced by aberrant CDK5 activation. Targeting CLIC4 in neurons may therefore provide a therapeutic approach for managing progressive neurodegenerative diseases that arise from neuronal apoptosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research