Biochemical Society transactions

The role of the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) in the nuclear localization of BAG-1: implications for colorectal tumour cell survival.

PMID 16042572


Although the retinoblastoma susceptibility gene RB1 is inactivated in a wide variety of human cancers, the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) has been shown to be overexpressed in colon cancers, which is linked to the anti-apoptotic function of the protein. However, the mechanisms by which Rb regulates apoptosis are yet to be fully elucidated. We have established that Rb interacts with the anti-apoptotic BAG-1 (Bcl-2 associated athanogene-1) protein, and that a decrease in nuclear localization of BAG-1 is detectable when the interaction between Rb and BAG-1 is disrupted by expression of the E7 viral oncoprotein. Interestingly, although reported as deregulated in colorectal cancers, we have found that BAG-1 expression is also altered in small adenomas, where its localization was found to be predominantly nuclear. In addition, we have established that maintenance of high nuclear BAG-1 in vitro increases the resistance of adenoma-derived cells to gamma-radiation-induced apoptosis. Our work suggests a novel function for Rb, involving modulation of the subcellular localization of BAG-1. We have found predominant nuclear BAG-1 localization in small adenomas, and suggest that BAG-1 may promote colorectal tumour cell survival by making colonic epithelial cells less sensitive to DNA damage.