Am J Cancer Res 2012;2(2):214-221
Bcl2:Beclin 1 complex: multiple mechanisms regulating autophagy/apoptosis
Rebecca T. Marquez, Liang Xu
University of Kansas, Department of Molecular Biosciences, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
Received December 21, 2011; accepted January 6, 2012; Epub February 15, 2012; Published February 28, 2012
Abstract: Cancer cells have developed novel mechanisms for evading chemotherapy-induced apoptosis and autophagy-
associated cell death pathways. Upon the discovery that chemotherapeutics could target these cell death pathways in a manner
that was not mutually exclusive, new discoveries about the interrelationship between these two pathways are emerging. Key
proteins originally thought to be “autophagy-related proteins” are now found to be involved in either inducing or inhibiting
apoptosis. Similarly, apoptosis inhibiting proteins can also block autophagy-associated cell death. One example is the complex
formed by the autophagy protein, Beclin 1, and anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, which leads to inhibition of autophagy-associated cell
death. Researchers have been investigating additional mechanisms that form/disrupt this complex in order to better design
chemotherapeutics. This review will highlight the role Bcl-2 and Beclin 1 play in cancer development and drug resistance, as
well as the role the Bcl-2:Beclin 1 complex in the switch between autophagy and apoptosis. (AJCR0000098).
Keywords: Bcl2:Beclin 1 complex, autophagy/apoptosis, regulation, cancer. chemotherapy
Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Liang Xu
University of Kansas
Department of Molecular Biosciences
Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
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