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EMBO J. 2004 Aug 18;23(16):3216-26. Epub 2004 Jul 22.

Involvement of BNIP1 in apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum membrane fusion.

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  • 1School of Life Science, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan.


BNIP1, a member of the BH3-only protein family, was first discovered as one of the proteins that are capable of interacting with the antiapoptotic adenovirus E1B 19-kDa protein. Here we disclose a totally unexpected finding that BNIP1 is a component of the complex comprising syntaxin 18, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-located soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) attachment protein (SNAP) receptor (SNARE). Functional analysis revealed that BNIP1 participates in the formation of the ER network structure, but not in membrane trafficking between the ER and Golgi. Notably, a highly conserved leucine residue in the BH3 domain of BNIP1 plays an important role not only in the induction of apoptosis but also in the binding of alpha-SNAP, an adaptor that serves as a link between the chaperone ATPase NSF and SNAREs. This predicts that alpha-SNAP may suppress apoptosis by competing with antiapoptotic proteins for the BH3 domain of BNIP1. Indeed, overexpression of alpha-SNAP markedly delayed staurosporine-induced apoptosis. Our results shed light on possible crosstalk between apparently independent cellular events, apoptosis and ER membrane fusion.

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