Regulation of Bnip3 death pathways by calcium, phosphorylation, and hypoxia-reoxygenation

Regina M. Graham, John W. Thompson, Jianqin Wei, Nanette H. Bishopric, Keith A. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Bnip3 is a proapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family of death-regulating proteins that promote the intrinsic pathway of programmed cell death. The Bnip3 death program requires membrane insertion through an N-terminal transmembrane domain that directs the protein to mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticular (ER) membranes. We have reported that simulated ischemia induces transcription of the Bnip3 gene, and Bnip3 protein is stabilized by acidosis. Bnip3 programmed death is atypical, with features of both apoptosis and necrosis. Here we demonstrate that hypoxia-reoxygenation and agents that activate protein kinase C, including calcium ionophore, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, and okadaic acid, also induce Bnip3. The molecular size of Bnip3 predicted from the amino acid sequence is 21.5 kDa, but the protein typically migrates in SDS-PAGE as a 31-kDa monomer and 60-kDa dimer. Treatment of cell extracts containing Bnip3 with phosphatase yielded a series of rapidly migrating species, the smallest of which corresponded with the theoretic molecular size of Bnip3. Conversely, treatment of cells with okadaic acid eliminated the rapidly migrating species, suggesting that Bnip3 phosphorylation is a dynamic process. Elevated levels of the phosphoprotein correlated with initiation of Bnip3-dependent death, whereas the dephosphorylated species correlated with extreme acidosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1315
Number of pages7
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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