26 February 2013 Hypothesis for thermal activation of the caspase cascade in apoptotic cell death at elevated temperatures
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Abstract
Apoptosis is an especially important process affecting disease states from HIV-AIDS to auto-immune disease to cancer. A cascade of initiator and executioner capsase functional proteins is the hallmark of apoptosis. When activated the various caspases activate other caspases or cleave structural proteins of the cytoskeleton, resulting in "blebbing" of the plasma membrane forming apoptotic bodies that completely enclose the disassembled cellular components. Containment of the cytosolic components within the apoptotic bodies differentiates apoptosis from necroptosis and necrosis, both of which release fragmented cytosol and other cellular constituents into the intracellular space. Biochemical models of caspase activation reveal the extensive feedback loops characteristic of apoptosis. They clearly explain the failure of Arrhenius models to give accurate predictions of cell survival curves in hyperthermic heating protocols. Nevertheless, each of the individual reaction velocities can reasonably be assumed to follow Arrhenius kinetics. If so, the thermal sensitivity of the reaction velocity to temperature elevation is: ∂k/∂T = Ea [k/RT2]. Particular reaction steps described by higher activation energies, Ea, are likely more thermally-sensitive than lower energy reactions and may initiate apoptosis in the absence of other stress signals. Additionally, while the classical irreversible Arrhenius formulation fails to accurately represent many cell survival and/or dye uptake curves - those that display an early stage shoulder region - an expanded reversible model of the law of mass action equation seems to prove effective and is directly based on a firm theoretical thermodynamic foundation.
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John A. Pearce, "Hypothesis for thermal activation of the caspase cascade in apoptotic cell death at elevated temperatures", Proc. SPIE 8584, Energy-based Treatment of Tissue and Assessment VII, 85840K (26 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2001663; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2001663
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