The Role of Bcl-xL Protein in Viral Infections

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 16;22(4):1956. doi: 10.3390/ijms22041956.


Bcl-xL represents a family of proteins responsible for the regulation of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Due to its anti-apoptotic activity, Bcl-xL co-determines the viability of various virally infected cells. Their survival may determine the effectiveness of viral replication and spread, dynamics of systemic infection, and viral pathogenesis. In this paper, we have reviewed the role of Bcl-xL in the context of host infection by eight different RNA and DNA viruses: hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), influenza A virus (IAV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human T-lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1), Maraba virus (MRBV), Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and coronavirus (CoV). We have described an influence of viral infection on the intracellular level of Bcl-xL and discussed the impact of Bcl-xL-dependent cell survival control on infection-accompanying pathogenic events such as tissue damage or oncogenesis. We have also presented anti-viral treatment strategies based on the pharmacological regulation of Bcl-xL expression or activity.

Keywords: Bcl-xL; CoV; EBV; HBV; HCV; HIV; HTLV-1; IAV; MRBV; SBV.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Survival
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Virus Diseases / metabolism*
  • Virus Diseases / pathology
  • Virus Replication
  • Viruses / metabolism
  • bcl-X Protein / analysis
  • bcl-X Protein / metabolism*


  • BCL2L1 protein, human
  • bcl-X Protein