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Oncogene. 2002 May 9;21(20):3181-9.

Proapoptotic activity of ITM2B(s), a BH3-only protein induced upon IL-2-deprivation which interacts with Bcl-2.

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Department of Immunology and Oncology,Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Campus de Cantoblanco, UAM, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Growth factor deprivation is a physiological mechanism to induce apoptosis. We used an IL-2-dependent murine T cell line to identify proteins that trigger apoptosis. Here we report the identification, the cloning and characterization of ITM2B(s), a protein induced upon IL-2-deprivation. ITM2B(s), which shares the BH3 domain of Bcl-2 family members, is a cytoplasmic and mitochondrial protein. Expression of ITM2B(s) induces apoptosis in IL-2-stimulated cells, but not in IL-4-stimulated cells, while overexpression of the long form of the protein is not able to induce apoptosis. In IL-2-stimulated cells, ITM2B(s) interacts with the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2, and does not interact with the proapoptotic Bad. Mutation of the critical L and D residues within the BH3 domain abolished the ability of ITM2B(s) to promote apoptosis.

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