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Nat Cell Biol. 2001 Feb;3(2):173-82.

Identification of small-molecule inhibitors of interaction between the BH3 domain and Bcl-xL.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


To study the role of the BH3 domain in mediating pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic activities of Bcl-2 family members, we identified a series of novel small molecules (BH3Is) that inhibit the binding of the Bak BH3 peptide to Bcl-xL. NMR analyses revealed that BH3Is target the BH3-binding pocket of Bcl-xL. Inhibitors specifically block the BH3-domain-mediated heterodimerization between Bcl-2 family members in vitro and in vivo and induce apoptosis. Our results indicate that BH3-dependent heterodimerization is the key function of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members and is required for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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