Cross Talk Between Cellular Redox State and the Antiapoptotic Protein Bcl-2
Antioxidants and Redox Signaling
Significance: B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) was discovered over three decades ago and is the prototype antiapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family that comprises proteins with contrasting effects on cell fate. First identified as a consequence of chromosomal translocation (t 14:18) in human lymphoma, subsequent studies have revealed mutations and/or gene copy number alterations as well as posttranslational modifications of Bcl-2 in a variety of human cancers. The canonical function of Bcl-2 is linked
... of Bcl-2 is linked to its ability to inhibit mitochondrial membrane permeabilization, thereby regulating apoptosome assembly and activation by blocking the cytosolic translocation of death amplification factors. Of note, the identification of specific domains within the Bcl-2 family of proteins (Bcl-2 homology domains; BH domains) has not only provided a mechanistic insight into the various interactions between the member proteins but has also been the impetus behind the design and development of small molecule inhibitors and BH3 mimetics for clinical use. Recent Advances: Aside from its role in maintaining mitochondrial integrity, recent evidence provides testimony to a novel facet in the biology of Bcl-2 that involves an intricate cross talk with cellular redox state. Bcl-2 overexpression modulates mitochondrial redox metabolism to create a "pro-oxidant" milieu, conducive for cell survival. However, under states of oxidative stress, overexpression of Bcl-2 functions as a redox sink to prevent excessive buildup of reactive oxygen species, thereby inhibiting execution signals. Emerging evidence indicates various redox-dependent transcriptional changes and posttranslational modifications with different functional outcomes. Critical Issues: Understanding the complex interplay between Bcl-2 and the cellular redox milieu from the standpoint of cell fate signaling remains vital for a better understanding of pathological states associated with altered redox metabolism and/or aberrant Bcl-2 expression. Future Directions: Based on its canonical functions, Bcl-2 has emerged as a potential druggable target. Small molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2 and/or other family members with similar function, as well as BH3 mimetics, are showing promise in the clinic. The emerging evidence for the noncanonical activity linked to cellular redox metabolism provides a novel avenue for the design and development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies against cancers refractory to conventional chemotherapy by the overexpression of this prosurvival protein. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.