The signaling pathways that determine the fate of a cell regarding death or survival depend on a large number of regulatory proteins. The Bax Inhibitor-1 (BI-1) family is a highly preserved family of small transmembrane proteins located mostly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Although most members of this family are still not characterized an antiapoptotic effect has been described for BI-1, Lifeguard (LFG), and the Golgi anti-apoptotic protein (GAAP). The cytoprotective activity has been associated to the control of ion homeostasis and ER stress but includes other cell death stimuli as well. Recent data describes multiple interactions between the proteins of the BI-1 family and the Bcl-2 family either stimulating the antiapoptotic function of Bcl-2 or inhibiting the proapoptotic effect of Bax. The potent cell death suppression makes this protein family an interesting target for the development of new drugs and gene therapeutic approaches for diseases caused by apoptotic dysregulation, such as cancer.
Keywords: Protein family, Bax-inhibitor, programmed cell death, apoptosis inhibitors, transmembrane protein, cancer
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