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FEBS J. 2015 Mar;282(6):1006-16. doi: 10.1111/febs.13190. Epub 2015 Jan 26.

BH3-only proteins: a 20-year stock-take.

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Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.


BH3-only proteins are the sentinels of cellular stress, and their activation commits cells to apoptosis. Since the discovery of the first BH3-only protein BAD almost 20 years ago, at least seven more BH3-only proteins have been identified in mammals. They are regulated by a variety of environmental stimuli or by developmental cues, and play a crucial role in cellular homeostasis. Some are considered to be tumor suppressors, and also play a significant role in other pathologies. Their non-apoptotic functions are controversial, but there is broad consensus emerging regarding their role in apoptosis, which may help in designing better therapeutic agents for treating a variety of human diseases.


BH3-only proteins; Bak; Bax; Bcl-2 family; activation; activationapoptosis; disease; mimetics; oligomerization; therapeutics

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