Myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (MCL-1) is an anti-apoptotic member of the BCL-2 family. Apoptosis is regulated by complex interactions between pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins in the BCL-2 family. MCL-1 inhibits apoptosis by directly binding the pro-apoptotic effector proteins BAK and BAX, and pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins, such as BIM. The balance of the interaction between pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins in the BCL-2 family is essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis and determines whether a cell will undergo apoptosis in response to stress such as DNA damage.1
Overexpression of MCL-1 has been widely reported in hematological malignancies and solid tumors and is associated with poor prognosis and resistance to treatment. Increased expression of MCL-1 can disrupt this balance and suppress cancer cell death.1
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BAK: BCL-2 homologous antagonist killer; BAX: BCL-2 associated X protein; BCL-2: B cell lymphoma 2; BH3: BCL-2 homology domain 3; BIM: BCL-like protein 11.
1. Xiang W, Yang C-Y, Bai L. Onco Targets Ther. 2018;11:7301-7314.