Apolipoprotein l6, a novel proapoptotic Bcl-2 homology 3-only protein, induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in cancer cells.
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Cancer cells frequently possess defects in the genetic and biochemical pathways of apoptosis. Members of the Bcl-2 family play pivotal roles in regulating apoptosis and possess at least one of four Bcl-2 homology (BH) domains, designated BH1 to BH4. The BH3 domain is the only one conserved in proapoptotic BH3-only proteins and plays an important role in protein-protein interactions in apoptosis by regulating homodimerization and heterodimerization of the Bcl-2 family members. To date, 10 BH3-only proapoptotic proteins have been identified and characterized in the human genome. The completion of the Human Genome Project and the availability of various public databases and sequence analysis algorithms allowed us to use the bioinformatic database-mining approach to identify one novel BH3-only protein, apolipoprotein L6 (ApoL6). The full-length cDNA of ApoL6 was identified, cloned, and functionally expressed in p53-null colorectal cancer cells (DLD-1). We found that overexpression of wild-type ApoL6 induced mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in DLD-1 cells characterized by release of cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO from mitochondria and activation of caspase-9, whereas ApoL6 BH3 domain deletion allele did not. In addition, overexpression of ApoL6 also induced activation of caspase-8. Furthermore, we showed that adenovirus harboring the full-length cDNA of ApoL6 induced marked apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell types, and ApoL6 recruited and interacted with lipid/fatty acid components during the induction of apoptosis. To our knowledge, this is the first example that intracellular overproduction of an apolipoprotein induces marked apoptosis.