Serine-70 Phosphorylated Bcl-2 Prevents Oxidative Stress-induced DNA Damage By Modulating The Mitochondrial Redox Metabolism
Bcl-2 phosphorylation at serine-70 (S70pBcl2) confers resistance against drug-induced apoptosis. Nevertheless, its specific mechanism in driving drug-resistance remains unclear. We present evidence that S70pBcl2 promotes cancer cell survival by acting as a redox sensor and modulator to prevent oxidative stress-induced DNA damage and execution. Increased S70pBcl2 levels are inversely correlated with DNA damage in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and lymphoma patient-derived primary cells as well as in reactive oxygen species (ROS)- or chemotherapeutic drug-treated cell lines. Bioinformatic analyses suggest that S70pBcl2 is associated with lower median overall survival in lymphoma patients. Empirically, sustained expression of the redox-sensitive S70pBcl2 prevents oxidative stress-induced DNA damage and cell death by suppressing mitochondrial ROS production. Using cell lines and lymphoma primary cells, we further demonstrate that S70pBcl2 reduces the interaction of Bcl-2 with the mitochondrial complex-IV subunit-5A, thereby reducing mitochondrial complex-IV activity, respiration and ROS production. Notably, targeting S70pBcl2 with the phosphatase activator, FTY720, is accompanied by an enhanced drug-induced DNA damage and cell death in CLL primary cells. Collectively, we provide a novel facet of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 by demonstrating that its phosphorylation at serine-70 functions as a redox sensor to prevent drug-induced oxidative stress-mediated DNA damage and execution with potential therapeutic implications.