The Journal of biological chemistry

Alix (ALG-2-interacting protein X), a protein involved in apoptosis, binds to endophilins and induces cytoplasmic vacuolization.

PMID 12034747


ALG-2-interacting protein X (Alix), also known as AIP1, is a cytoplasmic protein ubiquitously expressed and concentrated in phagosomes and exosomes. Alix may regulate apoptosis since it binds apoptosis-linked gene 2 (ALG-2), a Ca2+-binding protein necessary for cell death, and also overexpression of its C-terminal half (Alix-CT) blocks death induced by several stimuli. This part of Alix contains a long proline-rich domain containing several potential SH3-binding sites. Using Alix as bait in a yeast two-hybrid system to screen a mouse brain library, we have found that SH3p4, SH3p8, and SH3p13, collectively known as endophilins, bind to Alix. Co-immunoprecipitations and overlay experiments allowed us to demonstrate that endophilins bind to Alix-CT through an SH3/proline-rich domain interaction. We have narrowed the region of Alix interacting with endophilins down to 14 amino acids containing a PXRPPPP consensus sequence, also present in synaptojanin and germinal center kinase-like kinase, allowing their interaction to endophilins. We further show that overexpression of Alix-CT, which blocks cell death, leads to cytoplasmic vacuolization into tubulo-vesicular structures delineated by Alix-CT. This vacuolization phenomenon is greatly enhanced upon co-expression with endophilins and may be part of the protecting mechanism afforded by Alix-CT.