Parthanatos is a programmed necrotic demise characteristic of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) consumption due to NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) depletion by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1)-dependent poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation on target proteins. However, how the bioenergetics is adaptively regulated during parthanatos, especially under the condition of macroautophagy deficiency, remains poorly characterized. Here, we demonstrated that the parthanatic inducer N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) triggered ATP depletion followed by recovery in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Notably, Atg5-/- MEFs showed great susceptibility to MNNG with disabled ATP-producing capacity. Moreover, the differential energy-adaptive responses in wild-type (WT) and Atg5-/- MEFs were unequivocally worsened by inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), and mitochondrial activity. Importantly, Atg5-/- MEFs disclosed diminished SIRT1 and mitochondrial activity essential to the energy restoration during parthanatos. Strikingly, however, parthanatos cannot be exasperated by bafilomycin A1 and MNNG neither provokes microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3) lipidation and p62 elimination, suggesting that parthanatos does not induce autophagic flux. Intriguingly, we reported unexpectedly that PD98059, even at low concentration insufficient to inhibit MEK, can promote mitochondrial activity and facilitate energy-restoring process during parthanatos, without modulating DNA damage responses as evidenced by PARP1 activity, p53 expression, and γH2AX (H2A histone family, member X (H2AX), phosphorylated on Serine 139) induction. Therefore, we propose that Atg5 deficiency confers an infirmity to overcome the energy crisis during parthanatos and further underscore the deficits in mitochondrial quality control, but not incapability of autophagy induction, that explain the vulnerability in Atg5-deficient cells. Collectively, our results provide a comprehensive energy perspective for an improved treatment to alleviate parthanatos-related tissue necrosis and disease progression and also provide a future direction for drug development on the basis of PD98059 as an efficacious compound against parthanatos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-543
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • AMPK
  • ATP consumption
  • Mitochondrion
  • PD98059
  • Parthanatos
  • SIRT1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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