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Elucidating the interaction of C-terminal domain of Vaccinia-Related Kinase2A(VRK2A) with B-cell lymphoma-extra Large(Bcl-xL) to decipher its anti-apoptotic role in cancer.

Biochemical Journal 2023 November 10
Vaccinia-Related Kinase 2 (VRK2) is an anti-apoptotic Ser/Thr kinase that enhances drug sensitivity in cancer cells. This protein exists in two isoforms: VRK2A, the longer variant, and VRK2B, which lacks the C-terminal region and transmembrane domain. While the therapeutic importance of VRK2 family proteins is known, the specific roles of VRK2A and its interplay with apoptotic regulator Bcl-xL (B-cell lymphoma-extra Large) remain elusive. Bcl-xL regulates cell death by interacting with BAX (B-cell lymphoma-2 Associated X-protein), controlling its cellular localization and influencing BAX-associated processes and signalling pathways. As VRK2A interacts with the Bcl-xL-BAX complex, comprehending its regulatory engagement with Bcl-xL presents potential avenues for intervening in diseases. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, this study provides information on the cellular localization of VRK2A and establishes its interaction with Bcl-xL in the cellular milieu, pinpointing the interacting site and elucidating its antiapoptotic property within the complex. Furthermore, this study also put forth a model that highlights the importance of VRK2A in stabilizing the ternary complex, formedwith Bcl-xL and BAX, thereby impeding BAX dissociation and hence apoptosis. Therefore, further investigations associated with this important revelation will provide cues for designing cancer therapeutics in the future.

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