Acta Med. 2006, 49: 13-18

Apoptotic Machinery: The Bcl-2 Family Proteins in the Role of Inspectors and Superintendents

Aleš Tichý

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

Received July 1, 2005
Accepted March 1, 2006

Programmed cell death, apoptosis, plays an integral role in a variety of biological events, e.g. morphogenesis, removal of unwanted or harmful cells, tissue homeostasis etc. Members of the Bcl-2 family have been described as the key players in the regulation of the apoptotic process. This family consists of proteins that prevent apoptosis (Bcl-2–like) and two structurally distinct subgroups (Bax-like and BH3–only) that on the contrary promote cell death. Majority of their response is concentrated to the mitochondrial level. In this paper, besides reviewing some new information in this field we focused on how they interact among each other and on the way they sense and influence the death signals from the environment. Here, we compare Bcl-2 family to inspectors and superintendents since they supervise the manufacturing process of cell death and they determine whether the cell will die or it will resist and survive.


Supported by project MSM 0021620820, Ministry of Education, Czech Republic.


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