Overexpression of the Bcl-2 protein increases the half-life of p21Bax

Toshiyuki Miyashita, Shinichi Kitada, Stanislaw Krajewski, William A. Horne, Domenico Delia, John C. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bcl-2 and Bax are homologous proteins which can heterodimerize with each other. These proteins have opposing effects on cell survival when overexpressed in cells, with Bcl-2 blocking and Bax promoting apoptosis. Here we demonstrate that gene transfer-mediated elevations in Bcl-2 protein levels result in a marked increase in the steady-state levels of endogenous p21Bax protein as determined by immunoblotting in the Jurkat T-cell and 697 pre-B-cell leukemia cell lines, but not in several other cell lines including CEM T-cell leukemia, 32D.3 myeloid progenitor, PC12 pheochromocytoma, and NIH-3T3 fibroblasts. Steady-state levels of p21Bax protein were also elevated in the lymph nodes of Bcl-2 transgenic mice in which a BCL-2 transgene is expressed at high levels in B-cells. Northern blot analysis of BCL-2-transfected and control-transfected Jurkat and 697 leukemia cells revealed no Bcl-2-induced alterations in the steady-state levels of BAX mRNAs. In contrast, L-[35S]methionine pulse-chase analysis indicated a marked increase in the half-life (t1/2) of the p21Bax protein in BCL-2-transfected 697 cells compared to control-transfected cells (t1/2>24 h versus ∼4 h), whereas the rate of Bax degradation was unaltered in Bcl-2-transfected CEM cells. The results demonstrate that levels of the proapoptotic p21Bax protein can be post-translationally regulated by Bcl-2, probably in a tissue-specific fashion, and suggest the existence of a feedback mechanism that may help to maintain the ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax protein in physiologically appropriate ranges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26049-26052
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - Nov 3 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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