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Bcl-2 Function on the Endoplasmic Reticulum

Clark W Distelhorst

2 Collaborator(s)

Funding source

National Cancer Institute (NIH)
The Bcl-2 protein contributes to both oncogenesis and intrinsic cancer treatment resistance by inhibiting apoptosis. Research supported by this grant is investigating one particular aspect of Bcl-2's mechanism of action, the inhibition of calcium signals that promote apoptosis. We discovered that Bcl-2 interacts with the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R), an IP3-gated calcium channel on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), thus inhibiting IP3-induced calcium elevation. In the current funding period we used FRET to demonstrate this interaction in cells and mapped the interaction sites on both Bcl-2 and the IP3R. Based on this information we developed a peptide inhibitor of Bcl-2-IP3R interaction, Peptide 2. This peptide, when delivered into cells, reverses the inhibition of pro-apoptotic calcium signals by Bcl-2 and triggers prolonged calcium oscillations that elevate the pro-apoptotic protein Bim. The present proposal continues this work by investigating the fundamental mechanism by which Bcl-2-IP3R interaction regulates IP3R channel activity and thus inhibits IP3- dependent calcium elevation. Also, this proposal investigates the mechanism by which Peptide 2-mediated inhibition of Bcl-2-IP3R interaction triggers calcium oscillations and increases Bim levels. Finally, this proposal explores the concept of targeting Bcl-2-IP3R interaction for treatment of Bcl-2 over-expressing cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, in synergy with other therapeutic agents.

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