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Autophagy. 2006 Oct-Dec;2(4):307-9. Epub 2006 Oct 25.

Autophagy as a protective response to Bnip3-mediated apoptotic signaling in the heart.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Bnip3 is a member of the 'BH3-only' Bcl-2 subfamily which has been implicated in apoptotic,(1) necrotic(2) and autophagic cell death.(3,4) We recently reported that Bnip3 is a key mediator of mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death in the ex vivo heart following ischemia/reperfusion (I/R).(5) Moreover, we found that Bnip3 was involved in upregulation of autophagy in I/R and that Bnip3-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction correlated with upregulation of autophagy. Using a model of simulated I/R and overexpression of Bnip3 in HL-1 cardiac myocytes, we determined that Bnip3-mediated upregulation of autophagic activity constituted a protective response against Bnip3 death signaling. Here we present additional evidence that enhanced autophagic activity functions as a cytoprotective pathway to oppose ischemia/reperfusion-related apoptosis.

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