Disruption of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL by viral proteins as a possible cause of cancer

Kenneth Alibek, Stephanie Irving, Zarina Sautbayeva, Ainur Kakpenova, Aliya Bekmurzayeva, Yeldar Baiken, Nurgul Imangali, Madina Shaimerdenova, Damel Mektepbayeva, Arnat Balabiyev, Aizada Chinybayeva

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The Bcl proteins play a critical role in apoptosis, as mutations in family members interfere with normal programmed cell death. Such events can cause cell transformation, potentially leading to cancer. Recent discoveries indicate that some viral proteins interfere with Bcl proteins either directly or indirectly; however, these data have not been systematically described. Some viruses encode proteins that reprogramme host cellular signalling pathways controlling cell differentiation, proliferation, genomic integrity, cell death, and immune system recognition. This review analyses and summarises the existing data and discusses how viral proteins interfere with normal pro- and anti-apoptotic functions of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Particularly, this article focuses on how viral proteins, such as Herpesviruses, HTLV-1, HPV and HCV, block apoptosis and how accumulation of such interference predisposes cancer development. Finally, we discuss possible ways to prevent and treat cancers using a combination of traditional therapies and antiviral preparations that are effective against these viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • Bcl-xL
  • Cancer
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Herpesviruses
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Signaling pathways
  • Tumor suppressor genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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