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BAG-6, a jack of all trades in health and disease

Binici, Janina, Koch, Joachim
Cellular and molecular life sciences 2014 v.71 no.10 pp. 1829-1837
antigens, apoptosis, cytotoxicity, dendritic cells, exosomes, immune response, loci, macrophages, major histocompatibility complex, natural killer cells, plasma membrane, pro-apoptotic proteins, protein degradation, protein synthesis, proteins, quality control
BCL2-associated athanogene 6 (BAG-6) (also Bat-3/Scythe) was discovered as a gene product of the major histocompatibility complex class III locus. The Xenopus ortholog Scythe was first identified to act as an anti-apoptotic protein. Subsequent studies unraveled that the large BAG-6 protein contributes to a number of cellular processes, including apoptosis, gene regulation, protein synthesis, protein quality control, and protein degradation. In this context, BAG-6 acts as a multifunctional chaperone, which interacts with its target proteins for shuttling to distinct destinations. Nonetheless, as anticipated from its genomic localization, BAG-6 is involved in a variety of immunological pathways such as macrophage function and TH1 response. Most recently, BAG-6 was identified on the plasma membrane of dendritic cells and malignantly transformed cells where it serves as cellular ligand for the activating natural killer (NK) cell receptor NKp30 triggering NK cell cytotoxicity. Moreover, target cells were found to secrete soluble variants of BAG-6 and release BAG-6 on the surface of exosomes, which inhibit or activate NK cell cytotoxicity, respectively. These data suggest that the BAG-6 antigen is an important target to shape a directed immune response or to overcome tumor-immune escape strategies established by soluble BAG-6. This review summarizes the currently known functions of BAG-6, a fascinating multicompetent protein, in health and disease.