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Mol Cell. 2000 Jul;6(1):53-63.

TNF-alpha signals apoptosis through a bid-dependent conformational change in Bax that is inhibited by E1B 19K.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


The adenovirus E1B 19K gene product is an inhibitor of apoptosis induced by tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) during viral infection. We report that E1B 19K inhibited neither caspase-8 activation nor caspase-8-dependent Bid cleavage by TNF-alpha. Rather, TNF-alpha induced a tBid-dependent conformational change in Bax that allowed an interaction between E1B 19K and conformationally altered Bax, which caused inhibition of cytochrome c release and caspase-9 activation. E1B 19K expression interrupted caspase-3 processing, permitting cleavage to remove the p12 subunit but not the prodomain consistent with caspase-8 and not caspase-9 enzymatic activity. Thus, E1B 19K blocks TNF-alpha-mediated death signaling by inhibiting a specific form of Bax that interrupts caspase activation downstream of caspase-8 and upstream of caspase-9.

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