Here, we investigated the role of telomerase on Bcl-2-dependent apoptosis. To this end, the 4625 Bcl-2/Bcl-xL bispecific antisense oligonucleotide and the HA14-1 Bcl-2 inhibitor were used. We found that apoptosis induced by 4625 oligonucleotide was associated with decreased Bcl-2 protein expression and telomerase activity, while HA14-1 triggered apoptosis without affecting both Bcl-2 and telomerase levels. Interestingly, HA14-1 treatment resulted in a profound change from predominantly nuclear to a predominantly cytoplasmic localization of hTERT. Downregulation of endogenous hTERT protein by RNA interference markedly increased apoptosis induced by both 4625 and HA14-1, while overexpression of wild-type hTERT blocked Bcl-2-dependent apoptosis in a p53-independent manner. Catalytically and biologically inactive hTERT mutants showed a similar behavior as the wild-type form, indicating that hTERT inhibited the 4625 and HA14-1-induced apoptosis regardless of telomerase activity and its ability to lengthening telomeres. Finally, hTERT overexpression abrogated 4625 and HA14-1-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and nuclear translocation of hTERT. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that hTERT is involved in mitochondrial apoptosis induced by targeted inhibition of Bcl-2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology