The oncogenic protein Bcl-2 which is expressed in membranes of different subcellular organelles protects cells from apoptosis induced by endogenic stimuli. Most of the results published so far emphasise the importance of Bcl-2 at the mitochondria. Several recent observations suggest a role of Bcl-2 at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Bcl-2 located at the ER was shown to interfere with apoptosis induction by Bax, ceramides, ionising radiation, serum withdrawal and c-myc expression. Although the detailed functions of Bcl-2 at the ER remain elusive, several speculative mechanisms may be supposed. For instance, Bcl-2 at the ER may regulate calcium fluxes between the ER and the mitochondria. In addition, Bcl-2 is able to interact with the endoplasmic protein Bap31 thus avoiding caspase activation at the ER. Bcl-2 may also abrogate the function of ER located pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 like proteins by heterodimerization. Current data on the function of Bcl-2 at the ER, its role for the modulation of calcium fluxes and its influence on caspase activation at the ER are reviewed.
Apoptosis – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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