DNA damage stabilizes the p53 tumor suppressor protein that determines the cell fate by either cell cycle arrest or cell death induction. Noxa, the BH3-only Bcl-2family protein, was shown to be a key player in p53-induced cell death through the mitochondrial dysfunction; however, the molecular mechanism by which Noxa induces the mitochondrial dysfunction to cause cell death in response to genotoxic agents is largely unknown. Here, we show that the mitochondrial-targeting domain (MTD) of Noxa is a prodeath domain. Peptide containing MTD causes massive necrosis in vitro through cytosolic calcium increase; it is released from the mitochondria by opening the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. MTD peptide-induced cell death can be inhibited by calcium chelator BAPTA-AM. Moreover, MTD peptide shows the potent tumor-killing activities in mice by joining with tumor-homing motifs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research