Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Biol. 1999 Mar 8;144(5):903-14.

Cell damage-induced conformational changes of the pro-apoptotic protein Bak in vivo precede the onset of apoptosis.

Author information

  • 1Cancer Research Campaign Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom.


Investigation of events committing cells to death revealed that a concealed NH2-terminal epitope of the pro-apoptotic protein Bak became exposed in vivo before apoptosis. This occurred after treatment of human Jurkat or CEM-C7A T-lymphoma cells with the mechanistically disparate agents staurosporine, etoposide or dexamethasone. The rapid, up to 10-fold increase in Bak-associated immunofluorescence was measured with epitope-specific monoclonal antibodies using flow cytometry and microscopy. In contrast, using a polyclonal antibody to Bak, immunofluorescence was detected both before and after treatment. There were no differences in Bak protein content nor in subcellular location before or after treatment. Immunofluorescence showed Bcl-xL and Bak were largely associated with mitochondria and in untreated cells they coimmunoprecipitated in the presence of nonioinic detergent. This association was significantly decreased after cell perturbation suggesting that Bcl-xL dissociation from Bak occurred on exposure of Bak's NH2 terminus. Multiple forms of Bak protein were observed by two dimensional electrophoresis but these were unchanged by inducers of apoptosis. This indicated that integration of cellular damage signals did not take place directly on the Bak protein. Release of proteins, including Bcl-xL, from Bak is suggested to be an important event in commitment to death.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk