Non-canonical function of Bax in stress-induced nuclear protein redistribution

Liora Lindenboim, Elisa Ferrando-May, Christoph Borner, Reuven Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bax and Bak (Bax/Bak) are essential pro-apoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family that trigger mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) in a Bcl-2/Bcl-xL-inhibitable manner. We recently discovered a new stress-related function for Bax/Bak - regulation of nuclear protein redistribution (NPR) from the nucleus to cytoplasm. This effect was independent of Bax/Bak N-terminus exposure and not inhibited by Bcl-xL over-expression. Here, we studied the molecular mechanism governing this novel non-canonical response. Wild-type (WT) and mutant versions of Bax were re-expressed in Bax/Bak double-knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts and their ability to promote NPR, apoptotic events, and changes in lamin A mobility was examined. Our results show that, in this system, Bax expression was sufficient to restore NPR such as in WT cells undergoing apoptosis. This activity of Bax was uncoupled from cytochrome c release from the mitochondria (indicative of MOMP) and required its membrane localization, α helices 5/6, and the Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3) domain. Moreover, enrichment of Bax in the nuclear envelope by the so-called Klarsicht/ANC-1/Syne-1 homology domain effectively triggered NPR as in WT Bax, but without inducing MOMP or cell death. Bax-induced NPR was associated with impairment in lamin A mobility, implying a connection between these two nuclear envelope-associated events. Overall, the results indicate a new MOMP-independent, stress-induced Bax function on the nuclear envelope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3013-3027
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2 proteins
  • Nuclear permeability
  • Nucleus


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-canonical function of Bax in stress-induced nuclear protein redistribution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this