Vaccinia-Related Kinase 2 (VRK2) is an anti-apoptotic Ser/Thr kinase that enhances drug sensitivity in cancer cells. This protein exists in two isoforms: VRK2A, the longer variant, and VRK2B, which lacks the C-terminal region and transmembrane domain. While the therapeutic importance of VRK2 family proteins is known, the specific roles of VRK2A and its interplay with apoptotic regulator Bcl-xL (B-cell lymphoma-extra Large) remain elusive. Bcl-xL regulates cell death by interacting with BAX (B-cell lymphoma-2 Associated X-protein), controlling its cellular localization and influencing BAX-associated processes and signaling pathways. As VRK2A interacts with the Bcl-xL–BAX complex, comprehending its regulatory engagement with Bcl-xL presents potential avenues for intervening in diseases. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, this study provides information on the cellular localization of VRK2A and establishes its interaction with Bcl-xL in the cellular milieu, pinpointing the interacting site and elucidating its anti-apoptotic property within the complex. Furthermore, this study also put forth a model that highlights the importance of VRK2A in stabilizing the ternary complex, formed with Bcl-xL and BAX, thereby impeding BAX dissociation and hence apoptosis. Therefore, further investigations associated with this important revelation will provide cues for designing cancer therapeutics in the future.

You do not currently have access to this content.