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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Hematology - Molecular Biology - Oncology - Pediatrics and Child Health

BAG1: The Guardian of Anti-Apoptotic Proteins in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Published: Monday, October 10, 2011
Author: Sanja Aveic et al.

by Sanja Aveic, Martina Pigazzi, Giuseppe Basso

BCL2 associated Athano-Gene 1 (BAG1) is a multifunctional protein that has been described to be involved in different cell processes linked to cell survival. It has been reported as deregulated in diverse cancer types. Here, BAG1 protein was found highly expressed in children with acute myeloid leukemia at diagnosis, and in a cohort of leukemic cell lines. A silencing approach was used for determining BAG1's role in AML, finding that its down-regulation decreased expression of BCL2, BCL-XL, MCL1, and phospho-ERK1/2, all proteins able to sustain leukemia, without affecting the pro-apoptotic protein BAX. BAG1 down-regulation was also found to increase expression of BAG3, whose similar activity was able to compensate the loss of function of BAG1. BAG1/BAG3 co-silencing caused an enhanced cell predisposition to death in cell lines and also in primary AML cultures, affecting the same proteins. Cell death was CASPASE-3 dependent, was accompanied by PARP cleavage and documented by an increased release of pro-apoptotic molecules Smac/DIABLO and Cytochrome c. BAG1 was found to directly maintain BCL2 and to protect MCL1 from proteasomal degradation by controlling USP9X expression, which appeared to be its novel target. Finally, BAG1 was found able to affect leukemia cell fate by influencing the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins crucial for AML maintenance.
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