Elucidation of some Bax conformational changes through crystallization of an antibody-peptide complex

Cell Death Differ. 2007 Mar;14(3):447-52. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4402025. Epub 2006 Sep 1.


The Bcl-2 family member Bax plays a critical role in apoptosis. In healthy resting cells, Bax resides in the cytoplasm and loosely attached to the mitochondrial membrane. Apoptotic stimuli induce Bax activation, which is characterized by translocation and multimerization on the mitochondrial membrane surface resulting in exposure of an amino terminal epitope recognized by the monoclonal antibody 6A7. To understand the structural changes that occur during Bax activation, we determined the crystal structure of a Bax peptide bound to the 6A7 Fab fragment to a resolution of 2.3 A. The structure reveals the conformation of the 6A7 peptide epitope on Bax in the activated form and elucidates the extensive structural changes that Bax must undergo during the conversion from its native to its activated conformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Crystallization
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Epitopes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / chemistry*
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Peptides
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein