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Cell Death Differ. 2001 Sep;8(9):887-98.

Sponge Bcl-2 homologous protein (BHP2-GC) confers distinct stress resistance to human HEK-293 cells.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Abteilung Angewandte Molekularbiologie, Universität, Duesbergweg 6, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.


It is established that sponges, the phylogenetically oldest still extant phylum of Metazoa, possess key molecules of the apoptotic pathways, that is members from the Bcl-2 family and a pro-apoptotic molecule with death domains. Here we report on transfection studies of human cells with a sponge gene, GCBHP2. Sponge tissue was exposed to heat shock and tributyltin, which caused an upregulation of gene expression of GCBHP2. The cDNA GCBHP2 was introduced into human HEK-293 cells and mouse NIH-3T3 cells; the stable transfection was confirmed by the identification of the transcripts, by Western blotting as well as by immunofluorescence using antibodies raised against the recombinant polypeptide. HEK-293 cells, transfected with GCBHP2, showed high resistance to serum starvation and tributyltin treatment, compared to mock-transfected cells. In contrast to mock-transfected cells, GCBHP2-transfected cells activated caspase-3 to a lower extent. Thus, sponges contain gene(s) involved in apoptotic pathway(s) displaying their function also in human cells.

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