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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Mar 1;1644(2-3):169-77.

Bcl-2 family members and disease.

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  • Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, H4/444 CSC, 600 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53792-4108, USA. cmsorenson@facstaff.wisc.edu


Apoptosis plays an important role during development and in the maintenance of multicellular organisms. Bcl-2 family members affect cell death in either a positive or negative fashion. Although some redundancy exists between family members, expression of certain family members is important during development in an organ-specific manner. The founding family member bcl-2 tends to be highly expressed in the embryo and declines postnatally following differentiation and maturation. Altered expression of bcl-2, as well as other family members, has been observed in disease states potentially affecting treatment modalities. Here we examine the distribution and role death repressors bcl-2, bcl-x(L) and bcl-w as well as death effectors bax and bak play regulating apoptosis in a tissue-specific manner. Understanding the normal role of these proteins during embryogenesis and in the mature organ will give us important insight into what goes awry in various disease states.

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