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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Apr;22(7):999-1013. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-06-0534. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Mitochondrial proteomic approach reveals galectin-7 as a novel BCL-2 binding protein in human cells.

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LBCMCP, CNRS-UMR5088 IPBS, CNRS-UMR5089, Université de Toulouse, 31077 Toulouse, France.


Although the anti-apoptotic activity of Bcl-2 has been extensively studied, its mode of action remains incompletely understood. Deciphering the network of Bcl-2 interacting factors is necessary to better understand the key function of Bcl-2 in apoptosis initiation. To identify novel Bcl-2 mitochondrial partners, we have combined a Bcl-2 immunocapture with a mass spectrometry analysis using highly pure mitochondrial fractions isolated from human cancer cells. We identified at high confidence 127 potential Bcl-2-interacting proteins. Gene ontology mining reveals enrichment for mitochondrial proteins, endoplasmic reticulum-associated proteins, and cytoskeleton-associated proteins. Importantly, we report the identification of galectin-7 (Gal7), a member of a family of β-galactoside-binding lectins that was already known to exhibit a pro-apoptotic function, as a new mitochondrial Bcl-2 interacting partner. Our data further show that endogenous Bcl-2 coimmunoprecipitates with Gal7 and that recombinant Gal7 directly interacts with recombinant Bcl-2. A fraction of Gal7 is constitutively localized at mitochondria in a Bcl-2-dependent manner and sensitizes the mitochondria to the apoptotic signal. In addition, we show that the Bcl-2/Gal7 interaction is abolished following genotoxic stress. Taken together, our findings suggest that the binding of Gal7 to Bcl-2 may constitute a new target for enhancing the intrinsic apoptosis pathway.

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