Retromer facilitates the localization of Bcl-xL to the mitochondrial outer membrane

Trey Farmer, Katelyn L. O'Neill, Naava Naslavsky, Xu Luo, Steve Caplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family protein Bcl-xL plays a critical role in cell survival by protecting the integrity of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM). The mechanism through which Bcl-xL is recruited to the MOM has not been fully discerned. The retromer is a conserved endosomal scaffold complex involved in membrane trafficking. Here we identify VPS35 and VPS26, two core components of the retromer, as novel regulators of Bcl-xL. We observed interactions and colocalization between Bcl-xL, VPS35, VPS26, and MICAL-L1, a protein involved in recycling endosome biogenesis that also interacts with the retromer. We also found that upon VPS35 depletion, levels of nonmitochondrial Bcl-xL were increased. In addition, retromer-depleted cells displayed more rapid Bax activation and apoptosis. These results suggest that the retromer regulates apoptosis by facilitating Bcl-xL's transport to the MOM. Importantly, our studies suggest a previously uncharacterized relationship between the machineries of cell death/survival and endosomal trafficking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1146
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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