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Cell Death Differ. 2003 Feb;10(2):185-92.

Bfk: a novel weakly proapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 protein family with a BH3 and a BH2 region.

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The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia.


Proteins of the Bcl-2 family are critical regulators of apoptosis. Proapoptotic members, like Bax, contain three of the four Bcl-2 homology regions (BH1-3), while BH3-only proteins, like Bim, possess only the short BH3 motif. Database searches revealed Bfk, an unusual novel member of the Bcl-2 family that contains a BH2 and BH3 region but not BH1 or BH4. Bfk is thus most closely related to Bcl-G(L). It lacks a C-terminal membrane anchor and is cytosolic. Enforced expression of Bfk weakly promoted apoptosis and antagonized Bcl-2's prosurvival function. Like Bcl-G(L), Bfk did not bind to any Bcl-2 family members, even though its BH3 motif can mediate association with prosurvival proteins. Low amounts of Bfk were found in stomach, ovary, bone marrow and spleen, but its level in the mammary gland rose markedly during pregnancy, suggesting that Bfk may play a role in mammary development.

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