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Cell. 1996 Nov 15;87(4):629-38.

Bcl-2 targets the protein kinase Raf-1 to mitochondria.

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The Burnham Institute, Program on Apoptosis and Cell Death Research, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


A green fluorescent protein (GFP)-Raf-1 fusion protein was used to show that Bcl-2 can target this kinase to mitochondria. Active Raf-1 fused with targeting sequences from an outer mitochondrial membrane protein protected cells from apoptosis and resulted in phosphorylation of BAD, a proapoptotic Bcl-2 homolog. Plasma membrane-targeted Raf-1 did not protect from apoptosis and resulted in phosphorylation of ERK-1 and ERK-2. Untargeted active Raf-1 improved Bcl-2-mediated resistance to apoptosis, whereas a kinase-inactive Raf-1 mutant abrogated apoptosis suppression by Bcl-2. Bcl-2 can therefore target Raf-1 to mitochondrial membranes, allowing this kinase to phosphorylate BAD or possibly other protein substrates involved in apoptosis regulation.

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