Expression and Function of Bcl-2 Proteins in Melanoma
Jurgen Eberle and Amir M. Hossini
Affiliation: Charite–Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Skin Cancer Center Charite, Charite Campus Mitte, Chariteplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
Bcl-2 proteins are critical regulators of mitochondrial membrane permeability and the proapoptotic mitochondrial pathway. The family encloses pro- and antiapoptotic factors encoded by over 15 genes, which frequently give rise to alternative splice products. Antiapoptotic, proapoptotic multidomain, and proapoptotic BH3-only proteins are characterized by the presence of at least one of four Bcl-2 homology domains (BH 1-4). Their expression and activities are controlled by survival pathways as MAP kinases and protein kinase B/Akt, which are in touch with a number of transcription factors. In melanoma, the mitochondrial apoptosis pathways and Bcl-2 proteins appear of particular importance for apoptosis resistance, which has been addressed in clinical trials applying antisense-Bcl-2. Overexpression or induction of proapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins as well as the use of small molecule mimetics for the proapoptotic BH3 domain are further promising strategies.
Keywords: Melanoma, apoptosis, Bcl-2 proteins
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