Human Bcl-2 reverses survival defects in yeast lacking superoxide dismutase and delays death of wild-type yeast

J Cell Biol. 1997 Jun 30;137(7):1581-8. doi: 10.1083/jcb.137.7.1581.


We expressed the human anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to investigate its effects on antioxidant protection and stationary phase survival. Yeast lacking copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (sod1Delta) show a profound defect in entry into and survival during stationary phase even under conditions optimal for survival of wild-type strains (incubation in water after stationary phase is reached). Expression of Bcl-2 in the sod1Delta strain caused a large improvement in viability at entry into stationary phase, as well as increased resistance to 100% oxygen and increased catalase activity. In addition, Bcl-2 expression reduced mutation frequency in both wild-type and sod1Delta strains. In another set of experiments, wild-type yeast incubated in expired minimal medium instead of water lost viability quickly; expression of Bcl-2 significantly delayed this stationary phase death. Our results demonstrate that Bcl-2 has activities in yeast that are similar to activities it is known to possess in mammalian cells: (a) stimulation of antioxidant protection and (b) delay of processes leading to cell death.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Superoxide Dismutase