Drosophila pro-apoptotic Bcl-2/Bax homologue reveals evolutionary conservation of cell death mechanisms

Hong Zhang, Qihong Huang, Ning Ke, Shigemi Matsuyama, Bruce Hammock, Adam Godzik, John C. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genetic analysis of programmed cell death in Drosophila reveals many similarities with mammals. Heretofore, a missing link in the fly has been the absence of any Bcl-2/Bax family members, proteins that function in mammals as regulators of mitochondrial cytochrome c release. A Drosophila homologue of the human killer protein Bok (DBok) was identified. The predicted structure of DBok is similar to pore-forming Bcl-2/Bax family members. DBok induces apoptosis in insect and human cells, which is suppressible by anti-apoptotic human Bcl-2 family proteins. A caspase inhibitor suppressed DBok-induced apoptosis but did not prevent DBok-induced cell death. Moreover, DBok targets mitochondria and triggers cytochrome c release through a caspase-independent mechanism. These characteristics of DBok reveal evolutionary conservation of cell death mechanisms in flies and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27303-27306
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume275
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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