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1.  Coupling endoplasmic reticulum stress to the cell death program: role of the ER chaperone GRP78 
FEBS letters  2002;514(0):122-128.
Alterations in Ca2+ homeostasis and accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lead to an ER stress response. Prolonged ER stress may lead to cell death. Glucose-regulated protein (GRP) 78 (Bip) is an ER lumen protein whose expression is induced during ER stress. GRP78 is involved in polypeptide translocation across the ER membrane, and also acts as an apoptotic regulator by protecting the host cell against ER stress-induced cell death, although the mechanism by which GRP78 exerts its cytoprotective effect is not understood. The present study was carried out to determine whether one of the mechanisms of cell death inhibition by GRP78 involves inhibition of caspase activation. Our studies indicate that treatment of cells with ER stress inducers causes GRP78 to redistribute from the ER lumen with subpopulations existing in the cytosol and as an ER transmembrane protein. GRP78 inhibits cytochrome c-mediated caspase activation in a cell-free system, and expression of GRP78 blocks both caspase activation and caspase-mediated cell death. GRP78 forms a complex with caspase-7 and -12 and prevents release of caspase-12 from the ER. Addition of (d)ATP dissociates this complex and may facilitate movement of caspase-12 into the cytoplasm to set in motion the cytosolic component of the ER stress-induced apoptotic cascade. These results define a novel protective role for GRP78 in preventing ER stress-induced cell death.
PMCID: PMC3971841  PMID: 11943137
Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Caspase-12; Caspase-7; Apoptosis; Glucose-regulated protein 78; Thapsigargin; Brefeldin
2.  VEGF-induced neuroprotection, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis after focal cerebral ischemia 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;111(12):1843-1851.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenic protein with therapeutic potential in ischemic disorders, including stroke. VEGF confers neuroprotection and promotes neurogenesis and cerebral angiogenesis, but the manner in which these effects may interact in the ischemic brain is poorly understood. We produced focal cerebral ischemia by middle cerebral artery occlusion for 90 minutes in the adult rat brain and measured infarct size, neurological function, BrdU labeling of neuroproliferative zones, and vWF-immunoreactive vascular profiles, without and with intracerebroventricular administration of VEGF on days 1–3 of reperfusion. VEGF reduced infarct size, improved neurological performance, enhanced the delayed survival of newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus and subventricular zone, and stimulated angiogenesis in the striatal ischemic penumbra, but not the dentate gyrus. We conclude that in the ischemic brain VEGF exerts an acute neuroprotective effect, as well as longer latency effects on survival of new neurons and on angiogenesis, and that these effects appear to operate independently. VEGF may, therefore, improve histological and functional outcome from stroke through multiple mechanisms.
doi:10.1172/JCI200317977
PMCID: PMC161428  PMID: 12813020

Results 1-2 (2)