Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly aggressive brain tumor and almost all patients die because of relapses. GBM-derived cells undergo cell death without nuclear fragmentation upon treatment with different apoptotic agents. Nuclear dismantling determines the point-of-no-return in the apoptotic process. DFF40/CAD is the main endonuclease implicated in apoptotic nuclear disassembly. To be properly activated, DFF40/CAD should reside in the cytosol. However, the endonuclease is poorly expressed in the cytosol and remains cumulated in the nucleus of GBM cells. Here, by employing commercial and non-commercial patient-derived GBM cells, we demonstrate that the natural terpenoid aldehyde gossypol prompts DFF40/CAD-dependent nuclear fragmentation. A comparative analysis between gossypol-and staurosporine-treated cells evidenced that levels of neither caspase activation nor DNA damage were correlated with the ability of each compound to induce nuclear fragmentation. Deconvoluted confocal images revealed that DFF40/CAD was almost completely excluded from the nucleus early after the staurosporine challenge. However, gossypol-treated cells maintained DFF40/CAD in the nucleus for longer times, shaping a ribbon-like structure piercing the nuclear fragments and building a network of bridged masses of compacted chromatin. Therefore, GBM cells can fragment their nuclei if treated with the adequate insult, making the cell death process irreversible.
- Caspase-activated DNase (DFF40/CAD)
- Glioblastoma (GBM)
- Nuclear fragmentation/disassembly