Mitochondrion-Mediated Cell Death through Erk1-Alox5 Independent of Caspase-9 Signaling

Min Chen, Lei Wang, Min Li, Marietta M. Budai, Jin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial disruption leads to the release of cytochrome c to activate caspase-9 and the downstream caspase cascade for the execution of apoptosis. However, cell death can proceed efficiently in the absence of caspase-9 following mitochondrial disruption, suggesting the existence of caspase-9-independent cell death mechanisms. Through a genome-wide siRNA library screening, we identified a network of genes that mediate caspase-9-independent cell death, through ROS production and Alox5-dependent membrane lipid peroxidation. Erk1-dependent phosphorylation of Alox5 is critical for targeting Alox5 to the nuclear membrane to mediate lipid peroxidation, resulting in nuclear translocation of cytolytic molecules to induce DNA damage and cell death. Consistently, double knockouts of caspase-9 and Alox5 in mice, but not deletion of either gene alone, led to significant T cell expansion with inhibited cell death, indicating that caspase-9- and Alox5-dependent pathways function in parallel to regulate T cell death in vivo. This unbiased whole-genome screening reveals an Erk1-Alox5-mediated pathway that promotes membrane lipid peroxidation and nuclear translocation of cytolytic molecules, leading to the execution of cell death in parallel to the caspase-9 signaling cascade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3053
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages22
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • caspase-9-independent cell death
  • Erk1
  • Alox5
  • ROS
  • lipid peroxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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