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Bcl2 retards G1/S cell cycle transition by regulating intracellular ROS.

Deng X., Gao F., May W.S. Jr.

Bcl2's antiapoptotic function is regulated by phosphorylation. Bcl2 also regulates cell cycle progression, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. Bcl2 is functionally expressed in mitochondria where it can act as an antioxidant that may regulate intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Since ROS have been reported to act as second messengers in cell signaling, we tested whether Bcl2 phosphorylation regulates ROS and cell cycle progression. G1 --> S transition and ROS levels were measured in cells expressing either the gain of function phosphomimetic Bcl2 mutants S70E and T69E/S70E/S87E (EEE) or the nonphosphorylatable and survival-deficient mutants S70A and T69A/S70A/S87A (AAA). Expression of S70E and EEE but not the A-containing Bcl2 mutants retards G1 --> S transition by 35% to 50% and significantly slows cell growth in association with reduced levels of intracellular ROS. In addition to expression of the phosphomimetic Bcl2 mutants, either interleukin-3 withdrawal or treatment of cells with the antioxidant pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) also reduces intracellular ROS levels in association with up-regulation of p27 and accumulation of cells in G0/G1. Retardation of G1 --> S transition can be overridden by directly adding H2O2 to the cells in a mechanism that involves down-regulation of p27 and activation of Cdk2. Thus, Bcl2 may regulate G1 --> S transition by a novel signaling mechanism that couples regulation of intracellular ROS with p27 and Cdk2. Furthermore, phosphorylation of Bcl2 may functionally link its antiapoptotic, cell cycle retardation, and antioxidant properties.

Blood 102:3179-3185(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]