Examining the Molecular Mechanism of Bcl-2 Family Proteins at Membranes by Fluorescence Spectroscopy
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The Bcl-2 family proteins control apoptosis by regulation of outer mitochondrial membrane permeabilization. Studying the Bcl-2 family is particularly difficult because the functional interactions that regulate apoptosis occur at or within intracellular membranes. Compared to other biophysical methods, fluorescence spectroscopy is well suited to study membrane-bound proteins as experiments can be performed with intact membranes and at protein concentrations similar to those found in cells. For these reasons, fluorescence spectroscopy has been particularly useful in studying the regulation of membrane permeabilization by Bcl-2 family proteins. Here, we discuss four fluorescence-based assays used to study protein dynamics at membranes, with a focus on how these techniques can be used to study the Bcl-2 family proteins.
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