BAX is a multidomain proapoptotic BCL-2 family protein that resides in the cytosol until activated by an incompletely understood trigger mechanism, which facilitates BAX translocation to mitochondria and downstream death events. Whether BAX is activated by direct contact with select BH3-only members of the BCL-2 family is highly debated. Here we detect and quantify a direct binding interaction between BAX and a hydrocarbon-stapled BID BH3 domain, which triggers the functional activation of BAX at nanomolar doses in vitro. Chemical reinforcement of BID BH3 alpha helicity was required to reveal the direct BID BH3-BAX association. We confirm the specificity of this BH3 interaction by characterizing a stapled BAD BH3 peptide that interacts with antiapoptotic BCL-X(L) but does not bind or activate BAX. We further demonstrate that membrane targeting of stapled BID BH3 optimizes its ability to activate BAX, supporting a model in which BID directly engages BAX to trigger mitochondrial apoptosis.
SciCrunch® is a data sharing and display platform. Anyone can create a custom portal where they can select searchable subsets of hundreds of data sources, brand their web pages and create their community. SciCrunch® will push data updates automatically to all portals on a weekly basis. User communities can also add their own data to SciCrunch®, however this is not currently a free service.