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, 6 (12), 1221-8

Role of Bcl-2 Family Proteins in a Non-Apoptotic Programmed Cell Death Dependent on Autophagy Genes

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Role of Bcl-2 Family Proteins in a Non-Apoptotic Programmed Cell Death Dependent on Autophagy Genes

Shigeomi Shimizu et al. Nat Cell Biol.

Abstract

Programmed cell death can be divided into several categories including type I (apoptosis) and type II (autophagic death). The Bcl-2 family of proteins are well-characterized regulators of apoptosis, and the multidomain pro-apoptotic members of this family, such as Bax and Bak, act as a mitochondrial gateway where a variety of apoptotic signals converge. Although embryonic fibroblasts from Bax/Bak double knockout mice are resistant to apoptosis, we found that these cells still underwent a non-apoptotic death after death stimulation. Electron microscopic and biochemical studies revealed that double knockout cell death was associated with autophagosomes/autolysosomes. This non-apoptotic death of double knockout cells was suppressed by inhibitors of autophagy, including 3-methyl adenine, was dependent on autophagic proteins APG5 and Beclin 1 (capable of binding to Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L)), and was also modulated by Bcl-x(L). These results indicate that the Bcl-2 family of proteins not only regulates apoptosis, but also controls non-apoptotic programmed cell death that depends on the autophagy genes.

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