Activation of apoptosis executor BAX is mediated by intra-molecule charge transfer

Results of a collaboration between the Centre for Systems Medicine (CSM) and the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Masaryk University, Brno have been recently published in the highly respected theoretical journal PLOS Computational Biology (Ionescu et al., Plos CB 2012).

The collaboration led by Prof Jaroslav Koca (CEITEC) and Dr. Heinrich Huber (CSM) investigated structural data of BAX activation by a functional peptide of its natural activator protein (Bim) that were provided by the Walensky Group (Gavathiotis, Mol. Cell 2010). Using methods from quantum chemistry, researchers from CEITEC and CSM provided insigths into how activation information can be processed through the entire molecule, given that the activation site and the site of biological effectivity are at the opposite side of the Bax molecule and separated by a distance of more than 25 A°.

Results of the study are putting forward the notion of intra-molecule signal transduction that may process through changes in partial charges of amino-acid residues. In addition, the study identified novel potential targets for therapeutic drugs that may restore or attenuate apoptosis.

Ref: Ionescu CM, Svobodova-Varekova R, Prehn JHM, Huber HJ, Koca J, Plos Comp. Biol. 2012