Little is known of the functions of caspases in mediating the surface changes required for phagocytosis of dying cells. Here we investigate the role played by the effector caspase, caspase-3 in this process using the caspase-3-defective MCF-7 breast carcinoma line and derived caspase-3-expressing transfectants. Our results indicate that, while certain typical features of apoptosis induced by etoposide – namely classical morphological changes and the ability to degrade DNA into oligonucleosomal fragments – are caspase-3-dependent, loss of cell adhesion to plastic and the capacity to interact with, and to be phagocytosed by, human monocyte-derived macrophages – both by CD14-dependent and CD14-independent mechanisms – do not require caspase-3. Furthermore, both etoposide-induced caspase-3-positive and -negative MCF-7 cells suppressed proinflammatory cytokine release by macrophages. These results demonstrate directly that cell surface changes that are sufficient for anti-inflammatory clearance by human macrophages can be regulated independently of stereotypical features of the apoptosis programme that require caspase-3.
- cell surface