5 years ago

BAK {alpha}6 permits activation by BH3-only proteins and homooligomerization via the canonical hydrophobic groove [Cell Biology]

BAK {alpha}6 permits activation by BH3-only proteins and homooligomerization via the canonical hydrophobic groove [Cell Biology]
Ruth M. Kluck, Grant Dewson, Amber E. Alsop, Colin Hockings, Stephen B. Ma, Iris K. L. Tan, Michael A. Dengler, Mark Xiang Li, Tobias Kratina

BAK and BAX are the essential effectors of apoptosis because without them a cell is resistant to most apoptotic stimuli. BAK and BAX undergo conformation changes to homooligomerize then permeabilize the mitochondrial outer membrane during apoptosis. How BCL-2 homology 3 (BH3)-only proteins bind to activate BAK and BAX is unclear. We report that BH3-only proteins bind inactive full-length BAK at mitochondria and then dissociate following exposure of the BAK BH3 and BH4 domains before BAK homodimerization. Using a functional obstructive labeling approach, we show that activation of BAK involves important interactions of BH3-only proteins with both the canonical hydrophobic binding groove (α2–5) and α6 at the rear of BAK, with interaction at α6 promoting an open groove to receive a BH3-only protein. Once activated, how BAK homodimers multimerize to form the putative apoptotic pore is unknown. Obstructive labeling of BAK beyond the BH3 domain and hydrophobic groove did not inhibit multimerization and mitochondrial damage, indicating that critical protein–protein interfaces in BAK self-association are limited to the α2–5 homodimerization domain.

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