Aug 8, 2014

Conformational states of the cytoprotective protein Bcl-xL

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Trevon FullerThomas B Smith

Abstract

Bcl-xL is a major inhibitor of apoptosis, a fundamental homeostatic process of programmed cell death that is highly conserved across evolution. Because it plays prominent roles in cancer, Bcl-xL is a major target for anti-cancer therapy and for studies aimed at understanding its structure and activity. While Bcl-xL is active primarily at intracellular membranes, most studies have focused on soluble forms of the protein lacking both the membrane-anchoring C-terminal tail and the intrinsically disordered loop, and this has resulted in a fragmented view of the protein's biological activity. Here we describe how these segments affect the protein's conformation and ligand binding activity in both its soluble and membrane-anchored states. The combined data from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) provide information about the molecular basis for the protein's functionality and a view of its complex molecular mechanisms.

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