BH3-only activator proteins Bid and Bim are dispensable for Bak/Bax-dependent thrombocyte apoptosis induced by Bcl-xL deficiency: molecular requisites for the mitochondrial pathway to apoptosis in platelets

Takahiro Kodama, Tetsuo Takehara, Hayato Hikita, Satoshi Shimizu, Minoru Shigekawa, Wei Li, Takuya Miyagi, Atsushi Hosui, Tomohide Tatsumi, Hisashi Ishida, Tatsuya Kanto, Naoki Hiramatsu, Xiao-Ming Yin, Norio Hayashi
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2011 April 22, 286 (16): 13905-13
A pivotal step in the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis is activation of Bak and Bax, although the molecular mechanism remains controversial. To examine whether mitochondrial apoptosis can be induced by just a lack of antiapoptotic Bcl-2-like proteins or requires direct activators of the BH3-only proteins including Bid and Bim, we studied the molecular requisites for platelet apoptosis induced by Bcl-xL deficiency. Severe thrombocytopenia induced by thrombocyte-specific Bcl-xL knock-out was fully rescued in a Bak and Bax double knock-out background but not with single knock-out of either one. In sharp contrast, deficiency of either Bid, Bim, or both did not alleviate thrombocytopenia in Bcl-xL knock-out mice. An in vitro study revealed that ABT-737, a Bad mimetic, induced platelet apoptosis in association with a conformational change of the amino terminus, translocation from the cytosol to mitochondria, and homo-oligomerization of Bax. ABT-737-induced Bax activation and apoptosis were also observed in Bid/Bim-deficient platelets. Human platelets, upon storage, underwent spontaneous apoptosis with a gradual decline of Bcl-xL expression despite a decrease in Bid and Bim expression. Apoptosis was attenuated in Bak/Bax-deficient or Bcl-xL-overexpressing platelets but not in Bid/Bim-deficient platelets upon storage. In conclusion, platelet lifespan is regulated by a fine balance between anti- and proapoptotic multidomain Bcl-2 family proteins. Despite residing in platelets, BH3-only activator proteins Bid and Bim are dispensable for Bax activation and mitochondrial apoptosis.

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