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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nonredundant role of Bax and Bak in Bid-mediated apoptosis.

Animal models suggest that Bax and Bak play an essential role in the implementation of apoptosis and as a result can hinder tumorigenesis. We analyzed the expression of these proteins in 50 human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors. We found that all the tumors expressed Bak, while three did not express Bax. In vitro, Bax-deficient GBM (BdGBM) exhibited an important resistance to various apoptogenic stimuli (e.g., UV, staurosporine, and doxorubicin) compared to the Bax-expressing GBM (BeGBM). Using an antisense strategy, we generated Bak(-) BeGBM and Bak(-) BdGBM, which enabled us to show that the remaining sensitivity of the BdGBM to apoptosis was due to the overexpression of Bak. Bax/Bak single or double deficiency had no influence on either the clonogenicity or the growth of tumors in Swiss nude mice. Of note, Bak(-) BeGBM cells were resistant to apoptosis induced by caspase 8 (C8) but not to that induced by granzyme B (GrB). Cells lacking both Bax and Bak (i.e., Bak(-) BdGBM) were completely resistant to all stimuli including the microinjection of C8 and GrB. We show that GrB- cleaved Bid and C8- cleaved Bid differ in size and utilize preferentially Bax and Bak, respectively, to promote cytochrome c release from mitochondria. Our results suggest that Bax deficiency is compensated by an increase of the expression of Bak in GBM and show, for the first time in human cancer, that the double Bax and Bak deficiency severely impairs the apoptotic program.[1]


  1. Nonredundant role of Bax and Bak in Bid-mediated apoptosis. Cartron, P.F., Juin, P., Oliver, L., Martin, S., Meflah, K., Vallette, F.M. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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