Sponge Bcl-2 homologous protein (BHP2-GC) confers distinct stress resistance to human HEK-293 cells

Cell Death Differ. 2001 Sep;8(9):887-98. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400906.


It is established that sponges, the phylogenetically oldest still extant phylum of Metazoa, possess key molecules of the apoptotic pathways, that is members from the Bcl-2 family and a pro-apoptotic molecule with death domains. Here we report on transfection studies of human cells with a sponge gene, GCBHP2. Sponge tissue was exposed to heat shock and tributyltin, which caused an upregulation of gene expression of GCBHP2. The cDNA GCBHP2 was introduced into human HEK-293 cells and mouse NIH-3T3 cells; the stable transfection was confirmed by the identification of the transcripts, by Western blotting as well as by immunofluorescence using antibodies raised against the recombinant polypeptide. HEK-293 cells, transfected with GCBHP2, showed high resistance to serum starvation and tributyltin treatment, compared to mock-transfected cells. In contrast to mock-transfected cells, GCBHP2-transfected cells activated caspase-3 to a lower extent. Thus, sponges contain gene(s) involved in apoptotic pathway(s) displaying their function also in human cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival* / drug effects
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drug Resistance
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Heat-Shock Response / drug effects
  • Heat-Shock Response / genetics
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Porifera* / cytology
  • Porifera* / drug effects
  • Porifera* / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / immunology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Trialkyltin Compounds / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Antibodies
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trialkyltin Compounds
  • bhp2 protein, Geodia cydonium
  • tributyltin
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Casp3 protein, mouse
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ293508
  • GENBANK/AJ293509