Tissue expression and subcellular localization of the pro-survival molecule Bcl-w

Cell Death Differ. 2001 May;8(5):486-94. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400835.


Anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family, such as Bcl-w, maintain cell viability by preventing the activation of the cell death effectors, the caspases. Gene targeting experiments in mice have demonstrated that Bcl-w is required for spermatogenesis and for survival of damaged epithelial cells in the gut. Bcl-w is, however, dispensable for physiological cell death in other tissues. Here we report on the analysis of Bcl-w protein expression using a panel of novel monoclonal antibodies. Bcl-w is found in a diverse range of tissues including colon, brain and testes. A survey of transformed cell lines and purified hematopoietic cells demonstrated that Bcl-w is expressed in cells of myeloid, lymphoid and epithelial origin. Subcellular fractionation and confocal laser scanning microscopy demonstrated that Bcl-w protein is associated with intracellular membranes. The implications of these results are discussed in the context of the phenotype of Bcl-w-null mice and recent data that suggest that Bcl-w may play a role in colon carcinogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Hybridomas / cytology
  • Hybridomas / immunology
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transfection


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BCL2L2 protein, human
  • Bcl2l2 protein, mouse
  • Bcl2l2 protein, rat
  • Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2