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BMC Cancer. 2004 Nov 24;4:85.

BAG-1 haplo-insufficiency impairs lung tumorigenesis.

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Institut für Medizinische Strahlenkunde und Zellforschung, Universität Würzburg, Germany.



BAG-1 is a multifunctional co-chaperone of heat shock proteins (Hsc70/Hsp70) that is expressed in most cells. It interacts with Bcl-2 and Raf indicating that it might connect protein folding with other signaling pathways. Evidence that BAG-1 expression is frequently altered in human cancers, in particular in breast cancer, relative to normal cells has been put forward but the notion that overexpression of BAG-1 contributes to poor prognosis in tumorigenesis remains controversial.


We have evaluated the effect of BAG-1 heterozygosity in mice in a model of non-small-cell lung tumorigenesis with histological and molecular methods. We have generated mice heterozygous for BAG-1, carrying a BAG-1 null allele, that in addition express oncogenic, constitutively active C-Raf kinase (SP-C C-Raf BxB) in type II pneumocytes. SP-C C-Raf BxB mice develop multifocal adenomas early in adulthood.


We show that BAG-1 heterozygosity in mice impairs C-Raf oncogene-induced lung adenoma growth. Lung tumor initiation was reduced by half in BAG-1 heterozygous SP-C C-Raf BxB mice compared to their littermates. Tumor area was reduced by 75% in 4 month lungs of BAG-1 haploinsufficient mice compared to mice with two BAG-1 copies. Whereas BAG-1 heterozygosity did not affect the rate of cell proliferation or signaling through the mitogenic cascade in adenoma cells, it increased the rate of apoptosis.


Reduced BAG-1 expression specifically targets tumor cells to apoptosis and impairs tumorigenesis. Our data implicate BAG-1 as a key player in oncogenic transformation by Raf and identify it as a potential molecular target for cancer treatment.

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