Btf, a novel death-promoting transcriptional repressor that interacts with Bcl-2-related proteins

Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Jun;19(6):4390-404. doi: 10.1128/MCB.19.6.4390.


The adenovirus E1B 19,000-molecular-weight (19K) protein is a potent inhibitor of apoptosis and cooperates with E1A to transform primary rodent cells. E1B 19K shows sequence and functional homology to the mammalian antiapoptotic gene product, Bcl-2. Like Bcl-2, the biochemical mechanism of E1B 19K function includes binding to and antagonization of cellular proapoptotic proteins such as Bax, Bak, and Nbk/Bik. In addition, there is evidence that E1B 19K can affect gene expression, but whether this contributes to its antiapoptotic function has not been determined. In an effort to further understand the functions of E1B 19K, we screened for 19K-associated proteins by the yeast two-hybrid system. A novel protein, Btf (Bcl-2-associated transcription factor), that interacts with E1B 19K as well as with the antiapoptotic family members Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL but not with the proapoptotic protein Bax was identified. btf is a widely expressed gene that encodes a protein with homology to the basic zipper (bZip) and Myb DNA binding domains. Btf binds DNA in vitro and represses transcription in reporter assays. E1B 19K, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL sequester Btf in the cytoplasm and block its transcriptional repression activity. Expression of Btf also inhibited transformation by E1A with either E1B 19K or mutant p53, suggesting a role in either promotion of apoptosis or cell cycle arrest. Indeed, the sustained overexpression of Btf in HeLa cells induced apoptosis, which was inhibited by E1B 19K. Furthermore, the chromosomal localization of btf (6q22-23) maps to a region that is deleted in some cancers, consistent with a role for Btf in tumor suppression. Thus, btf may represent a novel tumor suppressor gene residing in a unique pathway by which the Bcl-2 family can regulate apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenovirus E1A Proteins / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Genes, Reporter
  • HeLa Cells
  • Histidine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Plasmids
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / physiology*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Rats
  • Repressor Proteins / chemistry*
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Adenovirus E1A Proteins
  • BCLAF1 protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Histidine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF249273