Next Article in Journal
Preliminary Estimations of Insect Mediated Transfers of Mercury and Physiologically Important Fatty Acids from Water to Land
Previous Article in Journal
Host-Induced Gene Silencing of an Adenylate Kinase Gene Involved in Fungal Energy Metabolism Improves Plant Resistance to Verticillium dahliae
Open AccessReview

The Bcl-2 Family: Ancient Origins, Conserved Structures, and Divergent Mechanisms

Department of Biochemistry & Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Biomolecules 2020, 10(1), 128;
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published: 12 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BCL-2 Family in Health and Diseases)
Intrinsic apoptosis, the response to intracellular cell death stimuli, is regulated by the interplay of the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family and their membrane interactions. Bcl-2 proteins mediate a number of processes including development, homeostasis, autophagy, and innate and adaptive immune responses and their dysregulation underpins a host of diseases including cancer. The Bcl-2 family is characterized by the presence of conserved sequence motifs called Bcl-2 homology motifs, as well as a transmembrane region, which form the interaction sites and intracellular location mechanism, respectively. Bcl-2 proteins have been recognized in the earliest metazoans including Porifera (sponges), Placozoans, and Cnidarians (e.g., Hydra). A number of viruses have gained Bcl-2 homologs and subvert innate immunity and cellular apoptosis for their replication, but they frequently have very different sequences to their host Bcl-2 analogs. Though most mechanisms of apoptosis initiation converge on activation of caspases that destroy the cell from within, the numerous gene insertions, deletions, and duplications during evolution have led to a divergence in mechanisms of intrinsic apoptosis. Currently, the action of the Bcl-2 family is best understood in vertebrates and nematodes but new insights are emerging from evolutionarily earlier organisms. This review focuses on the mechanisms underpinning the activity of Bcl-2 proteins including their structures and interactions, and how they have changed over the course of evolution. View Full-Text
Keywords: apoptosis; Bcl-2; evolution; mechanism; structure analysis apoptosis; Bcl-2; evolution; mechanism; structure analysis
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Banjara, S.; Suraweera, C.D.; Hinds, M.G.; Kvansakul, M. The Bcl-2 Family: Ancient Origins, Conserved Structures, and Divergent Mechanisms. Biomolecules 2020, 10, 128.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

Back to TopTop