The relationship between the cell cycle and Fas-mediated apoptosis was investigated using Jurkat cells. Analysis of the inducibility of apoptosis by anti-Fas antibody during the cell cycle synchronized by the thymidine double- block method, showed that apoptosis was induced in only 50% of the G2/M phase cells, while most of cells in the other phases underwent apoptosis. These observations indicate that G2/M phase cells are more resistant to Fas- mediated apoptosis than cells in other phases. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of G2/M phase found that only 20-30% of the cells underwent apoptosis 12 h after the removal of the second thymidine block (pre-G2/M phase). This suggests that Fas-mediated apoptosis is potently suppressed during the pre-G2/M phase. A possible explanation for the observation that cells in the pre-G2/M phase are less sensitive to anti-Fas antibody is lower expression level of Fas. To test this possibility, Fas expression levels on the cell surface during the cell cycle were examined. The content of Fas on the cell surface, however, did not change appreciably during the cell cycle. Thus, the suppression of apoptosis in the pre-G2/M phase is determined downstream after the receipt of the apoptotic signal through Fas.
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