The restricted binding repertoire of Bcl-B leaves Bim as the universal BH3-only prosurvival Bcl-2 protein antagonist Academic Article uri icon


  • B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) proteins mediate intrinsic-, or mitochondrial-, initiated apoptosis. We have investigated the structure and function of the least characterized Bcl-2 family member, Bcl-B, solving the crystal structure of a Bcl-B:Bim complex to 1.9 Å resolution. Bcl-B is distinguished from other Bcl-2 family members through an insertion of an unstructured loop between helices α5 and α6. Probing Bcl-B interactions with Bcl-2 homology (BH)3 motifs using a combination of biophysical- and cell-based assays revealed a unique BH3-only protein binding profile. Bcl-B has high-affinity interactions with Bim and Bik only. Our results not only delineate the mode of action of Bcl-B but also complete our understanding of the specific interactions between BH3-only proteins and their prosurvival Bcl-2 counterparts. Notably, we conclude that Bim is the universal prosurvival antagonist as no other BH3-only protein binds all six prosurvival proteins and that Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L) form a distinct prosurvival dyad.


  • Rautureau, GJP
  • Yabal, M
  • Yang, H
  • Huang, DCS
  • Kvansakul, M
  • Hinds, MG

publication date

  • December 2012