Structural Details of BH3 Motifs and BH3-Mediated Interactions: an Updated Perspective

Valentina Sora, Elena Papaleo*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Apoptosis is a mechanism of programmed cell death crucial in organism development, maintenance of tissue homeostasis, and several pathogenic processes. The B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) protein family lies at the core of the apoptotic process, and the delicate balance between its pro- and anti-apoptotic members ultimately decides the cell fate. BCL2 proteins can bind with each other and several other biological partners through the BCL2 homology domain 3 (BH3), which has been also classified as a possible Short Linear Motif and whose distinctive features remain elusive even after decades of studies. Here, we aim to provide an updated overview of the structural features characterizing BH3s and BH3-mediated interactions (with a focus on human proteins), elaborating on the plasticity of BCL2 proteins and the motif properties. We also discussed the implication of these findings for the discovery of interactors of the BH3-binding groove of BCL2 proteins and the design of mimetics for therapeutic purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number864874
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Short linear motifs
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Disordered proteins
  • BCL2
  • Apoptosis


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