Caspases maintain tissue integrity by an apoptosis-independent inhibition of cell migration and invasion

Anna Gorelick-Ashkenazi, Ron Weiss, Lena Sapozhnikov, Anat Florentin, Lama Tarayrah-Ibraheim, Dima Dweik, Keren Yacobi-Sharon, Eli Arama*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Maintenance of tissue integrity during development and homeostasis requires the precise coordination of several cell-based processes, including cell death. In animals, the majority of such cell death occurs by apoptosis, a process mediated by caspase proteases. To elucidate the role of caspases in tissue integrity, we investigated the behavior of Drosophila epithelial cells that are severely compromised for caspase activity. We show that these cells acquire migratory and invasive capacities, either within 1-2 days following irradiation or spontaneously during development. Importantly, low levels of effector caspase activity, which are far below the threshold required to induce apoptosis, can potently inhibit this process, as well as a distinct, developmental paradigm of primordial germ cell migration. These findings may have implications for radiation therapy in cancer treatment. Furthermore, given the presence of caspases throughout metazoa, our results could imply that preventing unwanted cell migration constitutes an ancient non-apoptotic function of these proteases.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2806
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 The Author(s).


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