Mechanisms and biology of B-cell leukemia/lymphoma 2/adenovirus E1B interacting protein 3 and Nip-like protein X

Ji Zhang, Paul A. Ney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

27 Scopus citations


B-cell leukemia/lymphoma 2 (BCL-2)/adenovirus E1B interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) and Nip-like protein X (NIX) are atypical BCL-2 homology domain 3-only proteins involved in cell death, autophagy, and programmed mitochondrial clearance. BNIP3 and NIX cause cell death by targeting mitochondria, directly through BCL-2-associated X protein- or BCL-2-antagonist/killer-dependent mechanisms, or indirectly through an effect on calcium stores in the endoplasmic reticulum. BNIP3 and NIX also induce autophagy through an effect on mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, or by releasing Beclin 1 from inhibitory interactions with antiapoptotic BCL-2 family proteins. BNIP3 downregulates mitochondrial mass in hypoxic cells, whereas NIX is required for mitochondrial elimination during erythroid development. BNIP3 and NIX have an emerging role in human health. Cell death mediated by BNIP3 and NIX is implicated in heart disease and ischemic injury. Cancer progression is linked to loss of the prodeath function of BNIP3, but also to induction of its prosurvival activity. Finally, BNIP3 and NIX are implicated in mitochondrial quality control, which is important in aging and degenerative disease. Elucidation of the mechanisms by which BNIP3 and NIX regulate cell death, autophagy, and mitochondrial clearance may lead to treatments for these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1959-1969
Number of pages11
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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