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Autophagy. 2009 Jul;5(5):690-8. Epub 2009 Jul 20.

Nix directly binds to GABARAP: a possible crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy.

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Institut für Strukturbiologie und Biophysik, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany.


Autophagy, a pathway primarily relevant for cell survival, and apoptosis, a process invariably leading to cell death, are the two main mechanisms of cellular self-destruction, which are essential in cell growth, neurodegeneration, tumor suppression, stress and immune response. Currently, a potential crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy is subject to intensive investigations since recently some direct junctions became obvious. The respective protein-protein interaction network, however, remains to be elucidated in detail. The gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptor-associated protein GABARAP belongs to a family of proteins implicated in intracellular transport events and was shown to be associated to autophagic processes. Using a phage display screening against the target protein GABARAP, we identified the proapoptotic protein Nix/Bnip3L to be a potential GABARAP ligand. In vitro binding studies, pull-down analysis, coimmunoprecipitation assays and colocalization studies confirmed a direct interaction of both proteins in mammalian cells.

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