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EMBO J. 2003 Oct 15;22(20):5459-70.

Bcl-xL/Bcl-2 coordinately regulates apoptosis, cell cycle arrest and cell cycle entry.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Bcl-x(L) and Bcl-2 inhibit both apoptosis and proliferation. In investigating the relationship between these two functions of Bcl-x(L) and Bcl-2, an analysis of 24 Bcl-x(L) and Bcl-2 mutant alleles, including substitutions at residue Y28 previously reported to selectively abolish the cell cycle activity, showed that cell cycle delay and anti-apoptosis co-segregated in all cases. In determining whether Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) act in G(0) or G(1), forward scatter and pyronin Y fluorescence measurements indicated that Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) cells arrested more effectively in G(0) than controls, and were delayed in G(0)-G(1) transition. The cell cycle effects of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) were reversed by Bad, a molecule that counters the survival function of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L). When control and Bcl-x(L) cells of equivalent size and pyronin Y fluorescence were compared, the kinetics of cell cycle entry were similar, demonstrating that the ability of Bcl-x(L) and Bcl-2 cells to enhance G(0) arrest contributes significantly to cell cycle delay. Our data suggest that cell cycle effects and increased survival both result from intrinsic functions of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L).

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