bcl-2: Antidote for Cell Death
The bcl-2 proto-oncogene, originally identified through the study of the t(14;18) translocation present in human B-cell follicular lymphomas, is unique among oncogenes in its ability to enhance cell survival by interfering with apoptotic cell death. This finding provided the important notion to the cancer research field that inhibition of cell death might be a critical step in tumorigenesis. This idea was supported by the demonstration that several cancer genes, including oncogenes and anti-oncogenes, have activities to modulate the apoptotic process, bcl-2 exerts a death-sparing activity against apoptosis induced by a wide variety of stimuli and, therefore, appears to function at a critical step in a common process in which several different apoptotic signals converge, although the mechanism of bcl-2 function remains unknown, bcl-2 has recently been recognized as a member of a family through the discovery of many structually related genes, some of which function like bcl-2 while others inhibit the death-sparing function of bcl-2 or other members. Detailed analysis of the bcl-2 family members will provide important clues toward an understanding of the molecular basis of apoptotic cell death. Here, current information on the bcl-2 gene and other members of this family is reviewed.
KeywordsIschemia Lymphoma Estrogen Adenocarcinoma Cystein
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