[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bax, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family, is a cytosolic protein that inserts into mitochondrial membranes upon induction of cell death. Using the green fluorescent protein fused to Bax (GFP-Bax) to quantitate mitochondrial binding in living cells we have investigated the cause of Bax association with mitochondria and the time course relative to endogenous and induced changes in mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)). We have found that staurosporine (STS) induces a loss in DeltaPsi(m) before GFP-Bax translocation can be measured. The onset of the DeltaPsi(m) loss is followed by a rapid and complete collapse of DeltaPsi(m) which is followed by Bax association with mitochondria. The mitochondria uncoupler FCCP, in the presence of the F(1)-F(0) ATPase inhibitor oligomycin, can trigger Bax translocation to mitochondria suggesting that when ATP levels are maintained a collapse of DeltaPsi(m) induces Bax translocation. Neither FCCP nor oligomycin alone alters Bax location. Bax association with mitochondria is also triggered by inhibitors of the electron transport chain, antimycin and rotenone, compounds that collapse DeltaPsi(m) without inducing rapid ATP hydrolysis that typically occurs with uncouplers such as FCCP. Taken together, our results suggest that alterations in mitochondrial energization associated with apoptosis can initiate Bax docking to mitochondria.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2001 · Cell Death and Differentiation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Release of proteins through the outer mitochondrial membrane can be a critical step in apoptosis, and the localization of apoptosis-regulating Bcl-2 family members there suggests they control this process. We used planar phospholipid membranes to test the effect of full-length Bax and Bcl-xL synthesized in vitro and native Bax purified from bovine thymocytes. Instead of forming pores with reproducible conductance levels expected for ionic channels, Bax, but not Bcl-xL, created arbitrary and continuously variable changes in membrane permeability and decreased the stability of the membrane, regardless of whether the source of the protein was synthetic or native. This breakdown of the membrane permeability barrier and destabilization of the bilayer was quantified by using membrane lifetime measurements. Bax decreased membrane lifetime in a voltage- and concentration-dependent manner. Bcl-xL did not protect against Bax-induced membrane destabilization, supporting the idea that these two proteins function independently. Corresponding to a physical theory for lipidic pore formation, Bax potently diminished the linear tension of the membrane (i.e., the energy required to form the edge of a new pore). We suggest that Bax acts directly by destabilizing the lipid bilayer structure of the outer mitochondrial membrane, promoting the formation of a pore-the apoptotic pore-large enough to allow mitochondrial proteins such as cytochrome c to be released into the cytosol. Bax could then enter and permeabilize the inner mitochondrial membrane through the same hole.
Full-text · Article · Jun 1999 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bax, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family, translocates from the cytosol to the mitochondria during programmed cell death. We report here that both gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutations can be achieved by altering a single amino acid in the Bax hydrophobic C-terminus. The properly mutated C-terminus of Bax can target a non-relevant protein to the mitochondria, showing that specific conformations of this domain alone allow mitochondrial docking. These data along with N-terminus epitope exposure experiments suggest that the C- and the N-termini interact and that upon triggering of apoptosis, Bax changes conformation, exposing these two domains to insert into the mitochondria and regulate the cell death machinery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptosis of viral infected cells appears to be one defense strategy to limit viral infection. Interferon can also confer viral resistance by the induction of the 2-5A system comprised of 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS), and RNase L. Since rRNA is degraded upon activation of RNase L and during apoptosis and since both of these processes serve antiviral functions, we examined the role RNase L may play in cell death. Inhibition of RNase L activity, by transfection with a dominant negative mutant, blocked staurosporine-induced apoptosis of NIH3T3 cells and SV40-transformed BALB/c cells. In addition, K562 cell lines expressing inactive RNase L were more resistant to apoptosis induced by decreased glutathione levels. Hydrogen peroxide-induced death of NIH3T3 cells did not occur by apoptosis and was not dependent upon active RNAse L. Apoptosis regulatory proteins of the Bcl-2 family did not exhibit altered expression levels in the absence of RNase L activity. RNase L is required for certain pathways of cell death and may help mediate viral-induced apoptosis.
Preview · Article · May 1998 · Cell Death and Differentiation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, and Bax are members of the Bcl-2 family that play important roles in apoptosis regulation. These proteins are believed to be membrane-bound and to regulate apoptosis through formation of homo- and heterodimers. However, we recently found by subcellular fractionation that whereas Bcl-2 is predominantly a membrane protein as previously reported, Bax and a significant fraction of Bcl-XL are soluble in thymocyte and splenocyte extracts. In addition, we have demonstrated that the ability of Bax to form dimers appears to be a detergent-induced phenomenon that coincides with a detergent-induced conformational change. We have further investigated the tertiary and quaternary states of Bax in the presence of various detergents. Detergents such as Triton X-100 and Triton X-114 readily enable Bax hetero- and homodimerization. However, other detergents such as polydocanol, W-1, octyl glucoside, dodecyl maltoside, Tween 20, and sodium cholate allow varying degrees of Bax hetero- and homodimerization. Detergents such as 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonic acid (Chaps) and Brij 35 allow neither hetero- nor homodimer formation. Immunoprecipitation analysis with the conformation-sensitive antibody uBax 6A7 revealed that whereas Triton X-100 readily exposes the N-terminal Bax epitope (amino acid 13-19), only limited exposure of the epitope occurs in Triton X-114, polydocanol, dodecyl maltoside, and sodium cholate, and no exposure of this epitope was observed in W-1, Chaps, octyl glucoside, Tween 20, and Brij 35. Moreover, we could not detect any proteins associated with the cytosolic form of Bax based on immunopurification of this protein. Sephacryl S-100 gel filtration chromatography analysis of the cytosolic Bax indicated that this protein is monomeric and displays an apparent molecular mass of 25 kDa. Induction of apo-ptosis which causes the insertion of the soluble form of Bax into membranes did not result in appreciable Bax/Bcl-XL, Bax/Bcl-2 or Bax/Bax dimer formation as determined by cross-linking studies. Further analysis of Bax after apoptosis induction by immunoprecipitation in the presence of Chaps also revealed no significant heterodimer formation. In conclusion, Bax displays several distinct states in different detergents that expose defined regions of the protein. In addition, these results suggest that mechanisms other than the simple dimerization among members of the Bcl-2 family may be required for the regulation of apoptosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bax, a member of the Bcl-2 protein family, accelerates apoptosis by an unknown mechanism. Bax has been recently reported to be an integral membrane protein associated with organelles or bound to organelles by Bcl-2 or a soluble protein found in the cytosol. To explore Bcl-2 family member localization in living cells, the green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to the NH2 termini of Bax, Bcl-2, and Bcl-XL. Confocal microscopy performed on living Cos-7 kidney epithelial cells and L929 fibroblasts revealed that GFP-Bcl-2 and GFP-Bcl-XL had a punctate distribution and colocalized with a mitochondrial marker, whereas GFP-Bax was found diffusely throughout the cytosol. Photobleaching analysis confirmed that GFP-Bax is a soluble protein, in contrast to organelle-bound GFP-Bcl-2. The diffuse localization of GFP-Bax did not change with coexpression of high levels of Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL. However, upon induction of apoptosis, GFP-Bax moved intracellularly to a punctate distribution that partially colocalized with mitochondria. Once initiated, this Bax movement was complete within 30 min, before cellular shrinkage or nuclear condensation. Removal of a COOH-terminal hydrophobic domain from GFP-Bax inhibited redistribution during apoptosis and inhibited the death-promoting activity of both Bax and GFP-Bax. These results demonstrate that in cells undergoing apoptosis, an early, dramatic change occurs in the intracellular localization of Bax, and this redistribution of soluble Bax to organelles appears important for Bax to promote cell death.
Full-text · Article · Jan 1998 · The Journal of Cell Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the Bcl-2 family (including Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, and Bax) play key roles in the regulation of apoptosis. These proteins are believed to be membrane-associated and have been
proposed to regulate apoptosis through both homodimerization and heterodimerization. We have found that whereas Bcl-2 is predominantly
membrane-associated as previously reported, significant amounts of Bcl-XL and most of the Bax proteins are not membrane-associated and thus appear in the cytosolic fraction of thymocyte and splenocyte
extracts. This finding allows the study of the dimerization properties and conformation of these proteins in the absence of
detergent perturbation. For this analysis, we have produced monoclonal antibodies that are specific for known epitopes of
Bax, Bcl-2, and Bcl-XL. An antibody to an N-terminal epitope (α uBax 6A7) between amino acids 12 and 24 fails to bind the soluble cytosolic form
of Bax, indicating that this epitope is normally buried. Nonionic detergents alter the Bax conformation to expose this epitope.
In the presence of nonionic detergent, the 6A7 antibody avidly binds the monomeric form of Bax, but not Bax complexed with
either Bcl-XL or Bcl-2. In contrast, a monoclonal antibody to an adjacent epitope of Bax (α mBax 5B7) within amino acids 3–16 binds the
soluble and detergent-altered forms of Bax and also binds the Bax·Bcl-XL or the Bax·Bcl-2 complex. Surprisingly, in the absence of detergent Bax fails to form homodimers or heterodimers with Bcl-XL. These results demonstrate a novel conformational state of members of the Bcl-2 family under a physiological condition that
is distinct from the detergent-altered state that forms dimers and is currently believed to regulate apoptosis.
Preview · Article · Jun 1997 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), and Bax are members of the Bcl-2 family that play key roles in the regulation of apoptosis. These proteins are believed to be membrane bound and their ability to undergo both homodimerization and heterodimerization has been proposed to regulate apoptosis. Herein we report that in murine thymocytes, Bcl-2 is exclusively membrane-bound, whereas Bax is present predominantly in the cytosol and Bcl-X(L) is present in both soluble and membrane-bound forms. Induction of apoptosis in murine thymocytes by dexamethasone or gamma-irradiation shifts the subcellular locations of Bax and Bcl-X(L) from soluble to membrane-bound forms. A similar shift in the localization of Bax from the cytosol to membranes was observed in HL-60 leukemia cells upon induction of apoptosis by staurosporine. Inhibition of apoptosis with cycloheximide inhibits the movement of Bax and Bcl-X(L) in thymocytes from the cytosol into membranes induced by dexamethasone treatment. These movements may represent an important step in the pathway by which members of this family regulate apoptosis.
Full-text · Article · May 1997 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences