Indexed on: 27 Feb '14Published on: 27 Feb '14Published in: International Journal of Hematology
Apoptotic endonuclease is a key enzyme that mediates regulated DNA fragmentation and chromatin condensation in response to apoptotic signals such as the Fas ligand, ionizing radiation, and anticancer agents. An endonuclease that is activated specifically by caspase-3 has been identified in humans and mice. The human gene for this protein has been termed DFF40 (DNA fragmentation factor, 40-kd subunit) or caspase-activated nuclease (CPAN), whereas the mouse homologue has been named caspase-activated deoxyribonuclease (CAD). Although CAD/DFF40 is known as a major apoptotic nuclease, mice lacking inhibitor of CAD (ICAD) (also known as DFF45) are viable and still show DNA fragmentation, suggesting that alternative endonucleases play an important role during apoptosis. Endonuclease G has been reported to possibly be responsible for DNA fragmentation in various cells during apoptosis. Furthermore, we also have found that apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (Ape1) and its N-terminal-truncated form (AN34) are involved in DNA fragmentation during apoptosis in leukemia cells. In this review, we describe the features of several endonucleases that are involved in the apoptosis of human leukemia cells. Apoptotic endonuclease may vary among different leukemia cell types.