Apoptosis, an essential and basic biological phenomenon, is regulated in a complex manner by a multitude of factors. Myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1), an anti-apoptotic member of the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family of apoptosis-regulating proteins, exemplifies a number of the mechanisms by which a protein's contribution to cell fate may be modified. The N-terminus of Mcl-1 is unique amongst the Bcl-2 family, in that it is rich in experimentally confirmed and putative regulatory residues and motifs. These include sites for ubiquitination, cleavage and phosphorylation, which influence the protein's stability, localisation, dimerization and function. Here we review what is known about the regulation of Mcl-1 expression and function, with particular focus on post-translational modifications and how phosphorylation interconnects the complex molecular control of Mcl-1 with cellular state.
Copyright 2010 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.