BAP31 is a polytopic integral protein of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane and, like BID, is a preferred substrate of caspase-8. Upon Fas/CD95 stimulation, BAP31 is cleaved within its cytosolic domain, generating proapoptotic p20 BAP31. In human KB epithelial cells expressing the caspase-resistant mutant crBAP31, Fas stimulation resulted in cleavage of BID and insertion of BAX into mitochondrial membrane, but subsequent oligomerization of BAX and BAK, egress of cytochrome c to the cytosol, and apoptosis were impaired. Bap31-null mouse cells expressing crBAP31 cannot generate the endogenous p20 BAP31 cleavage product, yet crBAP31 conferred resistance to cellular condensation and cytochrome c release in response to activation of ectopic FKBPcasp8 by FK1012z. Full-length BAP31, therefore, is a direct inhibitor of these caspase-8-initiated events, acting independently of its ability to sequester p20, with which it interacts. Employing a novel split ubiquitin yeast two-hybrid screen for BAP31-interacting membrane proteins, the putative ion channel protein of the endoplasmic reticulum, A4, was detected and identified as a constitutive binding partner of BAP31 in human cells. Ectopic A4 that was introduced into A4-deficient cells cooperated with crBAP31 to resist Fas-induced egress of cytochrome c from mitochondria and cytoplasmic apoptosis
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