TR3 (Nur77) is an orphan member of the steroid/retinoid family of Nuclear Receptors (NRs) that translocates from nucleus to cytosol, where it binds Bcl-2 and converts its phenotype from anti-apoptotic to pro-apoptotic (
Co-localization experiments using fluorescent protein tagging and confocal microscopy corroborated these findings, showing co-localization of a fragment of TR3 (Nur77) that accumulates in cytosol (rather than nucleus) [TR3 lacking the DNA-binding domain [DDBD]) with Bcl-2, Bfl-1, and Bcl-B on mitochondria and other intracellular organelles in intact cells, but not co-localization with Bcl-XL, Mcl-1 or Bcl-W. Co-expression of Bcl-2, Bfl-1, or Bcl-B with TR3DDBD by transfection resulted in robust apoptosis induction, while co-expression of Bcl-XL, Bcl-W, or Mcl-1 with TR3DDBD did not. In contrast to results obtained in TR3DDBD co-expression studies, expressing any of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2-family proteins (Bcl-2, Bfl-1, Bcl-B, Bcl-XL, Mcl-1, Bcl-W) individually resulted in suppression of apoptosis induced by Staurosporine, illustrating the role of TR3 in converting the phenotypes of Bcl-2, Bfl-1 and Bcl-B from protector to killer.
Because binding of TR3 (Nur77) to Bcl-B appeared to be strongest among the Bcl-2-family proteins, we focused on this Bcl-B for additional studies. (
We conclude that cytosolic TR3 (Nur77) interacts selectively with certain anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2-family (Bcl-2, Bfl-1, Bcl-B), converting them from protectors to killers. The ability of TR3 (Nur77) to convert Bcl-B suggests a possible novel strategy for triggering apoptosis of Bcl-B-expressing cells, which may be of utility for eradicating long-lived autoantibody-producing plasma cells or for killing malignant myeloma cells. (Supported by NIH GM60554 and SASS Foundation).
Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.