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EMBO J. 1995 Dec 15;14(24):6136-47.

Bcl-2 and Fas/APO-1 regulate distinct pathways to lymphocyte apoptosis.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


Activation of the cell surface receptor Fas/APO-1 (CD95) induces apoptosis in lymphocytes and regulates immune responses. The cytoplasmic membrane protein Bcl-2 inhibits lymphocyte killing by diverse cytotoxic agents, but we found it provided little protection against Fas/APO-1-transduced apoptosis in B lymphoid cell lines, thymocytes and activated T cells. In contrast, the cowpox virus protease inhibitor CrmA blocked Fas/APO-1-transduced apoptosis, but did not affect cell death induced by gamma-radiation or serum deprivation. Signalling through Fas/APO-1 did not down-regulate Bcl-2 or induce its antagonists Bax and Bcl-xS. In Fas/APO-1-deficient lpr mice, Bcl-2 transgenes markedly augmented the survival of antigen-activated T cells and the abnormal accumulation of lymphocytes (although they did not interfere with deletion of auto-reactive cells in the thymus). These data raise the possibility that Bcl-2 and Fas/APO-1 regulate distinct pathways to lymphocyte apoptosis.

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