bcl-w, a novel member of the bcl-2 family, promotes cell survival

Oncogene. 1996 Aug 15;13(4):665-75.


The prototypic mammalian regulator of cell death is bcl-2, the oncogene implicated in the development of human follicular lymphoma. Several homologues of bcl-2 are now known. Using a PCR-based strategy we cloned a novel member of this gene family, denoted bcl-w. The gene, which is highly conserved between mouse and human, resides near the T-cell antigen receptor alpha gene within the central portion of mouse chromosome 14 and on human chromosome 14 at band q11. Enforced expression of bcl-w rendered lymphoid and myeloid cells refractory to several (but not all) cytotoxic conditions. Thus, like Bcl-2 and Bcl-x, the Bcl-w protein promotes cell survival, in contrast to other close homologues, Bax and Bak, which facilitate cell death. Comparison of the expected amino acid sequence of Bcl-w with that of these relatives helps to delineate residues likely to convey survival or anti-survival function. While expression of bcl-w was uncommon in B or T lymphoid cell lines, the mRNA was observed in almost all murine myeloid cell lines analysed and in a wide range of tissues. These findings suggest that bcl-w participates in the control of apoptosis in multiple cell types. Its functional similarity to bcl-2 also makes it an attractive candidate proto-oncogene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Survival
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 14
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BCL2L2 protein, human
  • Bcl2l2 protein, mouse
  • DNA, Complementary
  • MAS1 protein, human
  • Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U59746
  • GENBANK/U59747