Apoptosis repressor with a CARD domain (ARC) has been demonstrated to protect heart cells against ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which ARC protects heart cells against oxidative stress. We monitored the extent of apoptosis and activity of multiple components of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway in rat cardiac myoblast cell line H9c2 with either reduced or increased expression of ARC during oxidative stress. Overexpression of ARC-inhibited oxidative stress-induced caspase-2/3 activation, cytochrome c release, and translocation of Bax to mitochondria. Furthermore, phosphorylation of ARC at threonine 149 was found to be critical to its function. ARC containing a T149A mutation failed to translocate to mitochondria, did not inhibit caspase-2 activation, and had a dominant negative effect against the protective effect of endogenous ARC during oxidative stress. In addition, wild-type ARC but not the T149A mutant inhibited cell death induced by overexpression of caspase-2. Using a yeast two-hybrid (YTH) screening approach and co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP), we found that protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) interacted with ARC and that PP2C mediated-dephosphorylation of ARC inhibited its anti-apoptotic activity. Eliminating either the N-terminal CARD domain or the C-terminal P/E domain also abolished the anti-apoptotic function of ARC, suggesting that full-length ARC is required for its apoptotic inhibition. These results indicate that ARC plays an important role in protection of H9c2 cells against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis by phosphorylation-dependent suppression of the mitochondria-mediated intrinsic pathway, partially initiated through the activation of caspase-2.
- Oxidative stress