Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Role of Bmbuffy in hydroxycamptothecine-induced apoptosis in BmN-SWU1 cells of the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

PMID 24690173


Bcl-2 family proteins have been reported previously to play important roles in the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Particularly, Bmbuffy has been identified as a key homologue of Bcl-2 in silkworm; however, its exact function is unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of Bmbuffy in hydroxycamptothecine (HCPT)-induced apoptosis of BmN-SWU1 cells. By conducting confocal microscopy studies, we found that Bmbuffy is located on the outer membrane of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Furthermore, we discovered that the hydrophobic transmembrane domain at the COOH terminus is a putative anchor for the subcellular localization of Bmbuffy. Overexpression of Bmbuffy inhibited cytochrome c release, activation of caspase-3 and cell apoptosis, while RNAi-mediated silencing of Bmbuffy promoted apoptosis. In the absence of a hydrophobic membrane anchor, we revealed that Bmbuffy is unable to block apoptosis. These results indicate that Bmbuffy acts as an anti-apoptotic protein, located on the mitochondrial outer membrane and is involved in the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Moreover, in HCPT-induced apoptosis, we showed that the translocation of endogenous Bmp53 from the nucleus to the mitochondria is a slow and progressive process, followed by cytochrome c release. This suggests that mitochondrial Bmp53 accumulation may contribute to membrane permeability. The co-localization of Bmp53 and Bmbuffy suggests the interaction of the two proteins, which was further confirmed by Co-IP assay. In addition, overexpression of Bmp53 increased cytochrome c release and the cell apoptotic rate, whereas Bmbuffy overexpression blocked these. All the data suggest that Bmbuffy functions as an anti-apoptotic protein and interacts with Bmp53 in HCPT-induced apoptosis of silkworm cells.