BH3-Only Proteins and Their Effects on Cancer

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (volume 687)


Apoptosis, a form of cellular suicide is a key mechanism involved in the clearance of cells that are dysfunctional, superfluous or infected. For this reason, the cell needs mechanisms to sense death cues and relay death signals to the apoptotic machinery involved in cellular execution. In the intrinsic apoptotic pathway, a subclass of BCL-2 family proteins called the BH3-only proteins are responsible for triggering apoptosis in response to varied cellular stress cues. The mechanisms by which they are regulated are tied to the type of cellular stress they sense. Once triggered, they interact with other BCL-2 family proteins to cause mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization which in turn results in the activation of serine proteases necessary for cell killing. Failure to properly sense death cues and relay the death signal can have a major impact on cancer. This chapter will discuss our current models of how BH3-only proteins function as well as their impact on carcinogenesis and cancer treatment.


Death Signal Antiapoptotic Protein Proapoptotic Protein Mitochondrial Outer Membrane Permeabilization Cell Death Differ 


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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