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Completing the family portrait of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins: crystal structure of human Bfl-1 in complex with Bim.

Herman M.D., Nyman T., Welin M., Lehtio L., Flodin S., Tresaugues L., Kotenyova T., Flores A., Nordlund P.

Evasion of apoptosis is recognized as a characteristic of malignant growth. Anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family members have therefore emerged as potential therapeutic targets due to their critical role in proliferating cancer cells. Here, we present the crystal structure of Bfl-1, the last anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member to be structurally characterized, in complex with a peptide corresponding to the BH3 region of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim. The structure reveals distinct features at the peptide-binding site, likely to define the binding specificity for pro-apoptotic proteins. Superposition of the Bfl-1:Bim complex with that of Mcl-1:Bim reveals a significant local plasticity of hydrophobic interactions contributed by the Bim peptide, likely to be the basis for the multi specificity of Bim for anti-apoptotic proteins.

FEBS Lett. 582:3590-3594(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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