Cleavage by caspase 8 and mitochondrial membrane association activate the BH3-only protein bid during TRAIL-induced apoptosis

Kai Huang, Jingjing Zhang, Katelyn L. O'Neill, Channabasavaiah B. Gurumurthy, Rolen M. Quadros, Yaping Tu, Xu Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The BH3-only protein Bid is known as a critical mediator of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis following death receptor activation. However, since full-length Bid possesses potent apoptotic activity, the role of a caspase-mediated Bid cleavage is not established in vivo. In addition, due to the fact that multiple caspases cleave Bid at the same site in vitro, the identity of the Bid-cleaving caspase during death receptor signaling remains uncertain. Moreover, as Bid maintains its overall structure following its cleavage by caspase 8, it remains unclear how Bid is activated upon cleavage. Here, Bid-deficient (Bid KO) colon cancer cells were generated by gene editing, and were reconstituted with wild-type or mutants of Bid. While the loss of Bid blocked apoptosis following treatment by TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), this blockade was relieved by re-introduction of the wild-type Bid. In contrast, the caspase-resistant mutant BidD60E and a BH3 defective mutant BidG94E failed to restore TRAIL-induced apoptosis. By generating Bid/Bax/Bak-deficient (TKO) cells, we demonstrated that Bid is primarily cleaved by caspase 8, not by effector caspases, to give rise to truncated Bid (tBid) upon TRAIL treatment. Importantly, despite the presence of an intact BH3 domain, a tBid mutant lacking the mitochondrial targeting helices (α6 and α7) showed diminished apoptotic activity. Together, these results for the first time establish that cleavage by caspase 8 and the subsequent association with the outer mitochondrial membrane are two critical events that activate Bid during death receptor-mediated apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11843-11851
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 27 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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