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Cell Death Differ. 2002 Nov;9(11):1240-7.

The proapoptotic BH3-only protein BAD transduces cell death signals independently of its interaction with Bcl-2.

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Division of Molecular Oncology and Molecular Diagnosis, Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo, Japan.


The BH3-only protein BAD binds to Bcl-2 family proteins through its BH3 domain. Recent studies suggest that BAD binds to both Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L), however mediates its pro-apoptotic functions through inhibition of Bcl-X(L), but not Bcl-2. In this paper we addressed this issue using a BAD mutant within the BH3 domain, by substitution of Asp 119 with Gly (BAD(D119G)), which selectively abrogates an ability to interact with Bcl-2. Confocal microscopy revealed that mutation of BAD at D119 does not affect BAD targeting to the mitochondrial membrane in serum-starved COS-7 cells. However, co-precipitation assays indicated that, whereas wild-type BAD (BADwt) directly interacts with Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L), BAD(D119G) interacts only with Bcl-X(L). Nevertheless both BADwt and BAD(D119G) could introduce apoptosis and diminish the anti-apoptotic effect of Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) in a similar manner in a co-transfection assay. These data thus suggest that Asp119 is a crucial site within the BH3 domain of BAD for interaction of BAD with Bcl-2, but is dispensable for the interaction of BAD with Bcl-X(L), for its targeting to mitochondria, and most importantly, for its pro-apoptotic functions. Thus, we confirm that neutralization of Bcl-2 function is marginal for BAD-mediated apoptosis.

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