Effect of γ-synuclein silencing on apoptotic pathways in retinal ganglion cells

Irina Surgucheva, Valery I. Shestopalov, Andrei Surguchov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


γ-Synuclein (Syn G) is highly expressed in retinal ganglion cells and the loss of these cells in glaucoma is associated with significant reduction of the intracellular Syn G level. However, a causative relationship between these two events has not been established. Here we show that the knockdown of Syn G results in a decreased viability of the immortalized retinal ganglion cells (RGC-5). The Syn G silencing reduces phosphorylation of serine 112 (Ser 112) in Bad protein, a member of the Bcl-2 family that plays a critical role in apoptotic cell death signaling. Our gene expression analysis data suggests that changes in Bad phosphorylation status may be caused by a coordinated shift in activities of kinases controlling Bad phosphorylation and phosphatases catalyzing its dephosphorylation. Moreover, increased phosphorylation of Bad-sequestering protein 14-3-3 detected in these cells is also pro-apoptotic. These results suggest that the homeostatic level of Syn G in RGC-5 cells is required for transcriptional regulation of protein kinases and phosphatases, controlling phosphorylation of Bad and 14-3-3. Lowering Syn G causes Bad dephosphorylation, dissociation from phosphorylated 14-3-3, and translocation to mitochondria where it initiates apoptotic death cascade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36377-36385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 26 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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