Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
EMBO J. 1998 Jul 15;17(14):3878-85.

Enforced dimerization of BAX results in its translocation, mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis.

Author information

  • 1Division of Molecular Oncology, Departments of Medicine and Pathology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Abstract

Expression of the pro-apoptotic molecule BAX has been shown to induce cell death. While BAX forms both homo- and heterodimers, questions remain concerning its native conformation in vivo and which moiety is functionally active. Here we demonstrate that a physiologic death stimulus, the withdrawal of interleukin-3 (IL-3), resulted in the translocation of monomeric BAX from the cytosol to the mitochondria where it could be cross-linked as a BAX homodimer. In contrast, cells protected by BCL-2 demonstrated a block in this process in that BAX did not redistribute or homodimerize in response to a death signal. To test the functional consequence of BAX dimerization, we expressed a chimeric FKBP-BAX molecule. Enforced dimerization of FKBP-BAX by the bivalent ligand FK1012 resulted in its translocation to mitochondria and induced apoptosis. Caspases were activated yet caspase inhibitors did not block death; cytochrome c was not released detectably despite the induction of mitochondrial dysfunction. Moreover, enforced dimerization of BAX overrode the protection by BCL-XL and IL-3 to kill cells. These data support a model in which a death signal results in the activation of BAX. This conformational change in BAX manifests in its translocation, mitochondrial membrane insertion and homodimerization, and a program of mitochondrial dysfunction that results in cell death.

PMID:
9670005
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1170723
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

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