Cell survival depends on the maintenance of mitochondrial integrity controlled by a well-balanced interplay between anti- and pro-apoptotic B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2) family members. Given their frequent deregulation in human pathologies, including autoimmunity and cancer, significant research efforts have increased our molecular understanding of how Bcl2 proteins control cell death. This has fostered the development of small non-peptidic compounds, so-called BH3-mimetics, that show excellent prospects of passing clinical trials and entering daily use for targeted therapy. Possible limitations in clinical application may, to a certain degree, be predicted from loss-of-function phenotypes gathered from studies using gene-modified mice that we attempt to summarize and discuss in this context.
Keywords: Bcl-2 family; apoptosis; cancer; mouse models; targeted therapy.
© 2015 FEBS.