The anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein is the founding member and namesake of the Bcl-2-protein family. It has recently been demonstrated that Bcl-2, apart from its anti-apoptotic role at mitochondrial membranes, can also directly interact with the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R), the primary Ca2+-release channel in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Bcl-2 can thereby reduce pro-apoptotic IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release from the ER. Moreover, the Bcl-2 homology domain 4 (Bcl-2-BH4) has been identified as essential and sufficient for this IP3R-mediated anti-apoptotic activity. In the present study, we investigated whether the reported inhibitory effect of a Bcl-2-BH4 peptide on the IP 3R1 was related to the distinctive α-helical conformation of the BH4 domain peptide. We therefore designed a peptide with two glycine "hinges" replacing residues I14 and V15, of the wild-type Bcl-2-BH4 domain (Bcl-2-BH4-IV/GG). By comparing the structural and functional properties of the Bcl-2-BH4-IV/GG peptide with its native counterpart, we found that the variant contained reduced α-helicity, neither bound nor inhibited the IP 3R1 channel, and in turn lost its anti-apoptotic effect. Similar results were obtained with other substitutions in Bcl-2-BH4 that destabilized the α-helix with concomitant loss of IP3R inhibition. These results provide new insights for the further development of Bcl-2-BH4-derived peptides as specific inhibitors of the IP3R with significant pharmacological implications. © 2013 Monaco et al.
Monaco, G., Decrock, E., Nuyts, K., Wagner, L. E., Luyten, T., Strelkov, S. V., … Bultynck, G. (2013). Alpha-Helical Destabilization of the Bcl-2-BH4-Domain Peptide Abolishes Its Ability to Inhibit the IP3 Receptor. PLoS ONE, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073386