Bcl-2 is an oncogenic protein that acts by inhibiting programmed cell death. The mechanisms used by this and related anti-apoptotic proteins to protect cells from cytotoxic stimuli are now emerging, with the discovery that Bcl-2 can function both as an ion channel and as an adaptor or docking protein.
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I thank M. Montal, S. Schendel and S. Choe for discussions on channel proteins, and D. Bredesen and G. Salvesen for critically reviewing the manuscript.
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