1.A.20 The BCL2/Adenovirus E1B-interacting Protein 3 (BNip3) Family

BNip3 is a prominent representative of apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins with rather unique properties initiating an atypical programmed cell death pathway resembling both necrosis and apoptosis. Many Bcl-2 family proteins modulate the permeability state of the outer mitochondrial membrane by forming homo- and hetero-oligomers. The structure and dynamics of the homodimeric transmembrane domain of BNip3 have been investigated (Bocharov et al., 2007). The right-handed parallel helix-helix structure of the domain with a hydrogen bond-rich His-Ser node in the middle of the membrane, accessibility of the node for water, and continuous hydrophilic track across the membrane suggest that the domain can provide an ion-conducting pathway through the membrane. Incorporation of the BNip3 transmembrane domain into an artificial lipid bilayer resulted in a pH-dependent conductivity increase. Necrosis-like cell death induced by BNip3 may be related to this activity. Sequence similarity with Bcl-2 family members was not detected.

Humans and other animals (Drosophila, Caenorhabditis) as well as lower eukaryotes (Dictyostelium, Trypanosoma, Cryptospondium, Paramecium) encode several BNIP3 paralogues including the human NIP3L which induces apoptosis by interacting with viral and cellular anti-apoptosis proteins. May function as a tumor suppressor. Inhibits apptosis by BNIP3. It interacts with BNIP3 and STEAP3. Common domains are also found in other proteins such as adenylate cyclases and clumping factor B of Staphylococcus aureus (345 aas; CAL50888) which contains six repeats similar to residues 49-115 in BNIP3.

The reaction catalyzed by BNip3 is:

Small molecules (out) small molecules (in)



Bocharov, E.V., Y.E. Pustovalova, K.V. Pavlov, P.E. Volynsky, M.V. Goncharuk, Y.S. Ermolyuk, D.V. Karpunin, A.A. Schulga, M.P. Kirpichnikov, R.G. Efremov, I.V. Maslennikov, and A.S. Arseniev. (2007). Unique dimeric structure of BNip3 transmembrane domain suggests membrane permeabilization as a cell death trigger. J. Biol. Chem. 282: 16256-16266.

Chung, L.Y., S.J. Tang, Y.C. Wu, K.C. Yang, H.J. Huang, G.H. Sun, and K.H. Sun. (2020). Platinum-based combination chemotherapy triggers cancer cell death through induction of BNIP3 and ROS, but not autophagy. J Cell Mol Med 24: 1993-2003.

Ghavami, S., M. Eshragi, S.R. Ande, W.J. Chazin, T. Klonisch, A.J. Halayko, K.D. McNeill, M. Hashemi, C. Kerkhoff, and M. Los. (2010). S100A8/A9 induces autophagy and apoptosis via ROS-mediated cross-talk between mitochondria and lysosomes that involves BNIP3. Cell Res 20: 314-331.

Nakamura, Y., N. Kitamura, D. Shinogi, M. Yoshida, O. Goda, R. Murai, H. Kamino, and H. Arakawa. (2012). BNIP3 and NIX mediate Mieap-induced accumulation of lysosomal proteins within mitochondria. PLoS One 7: e30767.


TC#NameOrganismal TypeExample

BNip3 channel-forming protein (Bocharov et al., 2007). It is an apoptosis-inducing protein that can overcome BCL2 suppression and may play a role in repartitioning calcium between the two major intracellular calcium stores in association with BCL2 (Ghavami et al. 2010). It is also involved in mitochondrial quality control via its interaction with SPATA18/MIEAP: in response to mitochondrial damage, it participates in mitochondrial protein catabolic process (also named MALM) leading to the degradation of damaged proteins inside mitochondria. The physical interaction of SPATA18/MIEAP, BNIP3 and BNIP3L/NIX at the mitochondrial outer membrane regulates the opening of a pore in the mitochondrial double membrane in order to mediate the translocation of lysosomal proteins from the cytoplasm to the mitochondrial matrix (Nakamura et al. 2012). Platinum-based combination chemotherapy triggers cancer cell death through induction of BNIP3 and ROS, but not autophagy (Chung et al. 2020).



BNip3 of Homo sapiens (Q12983)


NIP3L (NIP3-like protein X; Adenovirus E1B 19kDa-binding protein B5). 


NIP3L of Homo sapiens (O60238)


BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa protein-interacting protein 3  homologue of 215 aas and 1 C-terminal TMS.

BCL2 of Aquila chrysaetos canadensis


TC#NameOrganismal TypeExample

BCL2/Adenovirus E1B interacting protein, NIP3


NIP3 of Caenorhabditis elegans (Q09969)


NIP2-like protein of 195 aas and 1 C-terminal TMS

NIP3 of Trichinella spiralis (Trichina worm)