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Inherent calcineurin inhibitor FKBP38 targets Bcl-2 to mitochondria and inhibits apoptosis.

Shirane M., Nakayama K.I.

The mitochondrial localization of the membrane proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) is essential for their anti-apoptotic function. Here we show that mitochondrial FK506-binding protein 38 (FKBP38), unlike FKBP12, binds to and inhibits calcineurin in the absence of the immunosuppressant FK506, suggesting that FKBP38 is an inherent inhibitor of this phosphatase. FKBP38 is associated with Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) in immunoprecipitation assays and colocalizes with these proteins in mitochondria; in addition, the expression of FKBP38 mutant proteins induces a marked redistribution of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L). Overexpression of FKBP38 blocks apoptosis, whereas functional inhibition of this protein by a dominant-negative mutant or by RNA interference promotes apoptosis. Thus, FKBP38 might function to inhibit apoptosis by anchoring Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) to mitochondria.

Nat. Cell Biol. 5:28-37(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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