Back to Journals » Cell Health and Cytoskeleton » Volume 2

Bcl-2 family-regulated apoptosis in health and disease

Authors Dewson G, Kluck R

Published 1 April 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 9—22


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Grant Dewson, Ruth M Kluck

Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract: Apoptotic cell death is essential for embryonic development, tissue homeostasis, and a well-functioning immune system, with aberrant apoptosis contributing to numerous disease conditions. Inadequate cell death is a major contributing factor to tumorigenesis, while excess cell death contributes to neurodegeneration and autoimmune disease. The major pathway of apoptotic cell death, the mitochondrial pathway, is controlled by the Bcl-2 family of proteins. The members of this family, more than 17 in humans, share significant sequence and structural homology, and fulfil either prosurvival or proapoptotic roles. Specific interactions between these functionally polar proteins, and their relative expression levels, govern the susceptibility of each cell to toxic insults. Here we review the current understanding on how apoptotic cell death is controlled by this important protein family. We also discuss how excessive or insufficient cell death can contribute to disease, and how targeting the Bcl-2 family offers novel therapeutic opportunities.
Keywords: apoptosis, Bcl-2, cancer, cytochrome c, mitochondria

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]