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Official Full Name
BCL2-associated athanogene 2
BAG proteins compete with Hip for binding to the Hsc70/Hsp70 ATPase domain and promote substrate release. All the BAG proteins have an approximately 45-amino acid BAG domain near the C terminus but differ markedly in their N-terminal regions. The predicted BAG2 protein contains 211 amino acids. The BAG domains of BAG1, BAG2, and BAG3 interact specifically with the Hsc70 ATPase domain in vitro and in mammalian cells. All 3 proteins bind with high affinity to the ATPase domain of Hsc70 and inhibit its chaperone activity in a Hip-repressible manner.
BAG2; BCL2-associated athanogene 2; BAG family molecular chaperone regulator 2; bcl-2-associated athanogene 2; BAG-family molecular chaperone regulator-2; dJ417I1.2 (BAG-family molecular chaperone regulator 2); BAG-2; dJ417I1.2; KIAA0576; MGC149462; BAG-2, dJ417I1.2; zgc:64195

The BAG (Bcl-2-associated athanogene) family was first identified as a group of proteins that prevent cell death through their interaction with Bcl-2. They share a conserved region at their C-terminal. BAG2 shares a similar molecular structure and function with other BAG family members. BAG2 is an Hsp70/Hsc70 molecular chaperone-interacting protein originally discovered using yeast two-hybrid screening. It is composed of 211 amino acids. Although the C-terminus of BAG2 is classified as a BAG domain, researchers have found that it shares a low level of homology with other BAG domains. After using crystallographic technology, found that the BAG2 C-terminal domain adopts a novel dimeric structure in the Hsp70/Hsc70 binding mode, and that this structure differs greatly from those of known BAG domains and from those of other Hsp70/Hsc70 nucleotide exchange factors (NEF). Moreover, they definitively showed clientbinding site overlap with the Hsp70/Hsc70-binding site.

Functions of BAG2 BNB Domain

The BAG2 BNB (BAG2 C-terminal domain with its atypical dimeric structure is considered a unique Hsp70/Hsc70–NEF and proposed that it be defined as the brand new BAG domain) domain harbors dual functions of nucleotide exchange and client binding. When binding with ATP, Hsp70 exhibits low substrate affinity, whereas in the ADP-bound state, it has high affinity for its substrates. Heat shock protein 70-mediated protein refolding is limited by the inherent low nucleotide exchange rate, efficient protein refolding requires interaction between Hsp70 and NEFs. Previous studies have indicated that BAG2 binds with high affinity to the ATPase domain of Hsp70 and inhibits its chaperone activity in a hip repressible manner. The NEF function of BAG2, which accelerates the ATPase cycle, can affect folding, aggregation and degradation reactions in different ways depending on the associated client and the cooperation with other chaperones and co-chaperones. Apart from being NEF, BAG2 also has an intrinsic companion client binding activity. In addition to the formation of complexes of BAG-Hsp70, BAG proteins functionally interact with a variety of binding partners and coordinate different cellular processes such as stress signaling, cell division, cell death, and cell differentiation. Additionally, BAG2 is an inhibitor of E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP (carboxyl-terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein) that binds Hsp70. BAG2 NTD inhibits CHIP-mediated ubiquitination.

Fig. 1. BAG2 interacts with the molecular chaperone Hsp70, which plays a prominent role in protein homeostasis. (Qin et al. Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters. 2016).

Interaction with HSP70-binding E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP

There are at least two domains in the CHIP: a u-box domain that interacts with the ubiquitin conjugated enzyme E2, and a TPR domain that is linked to heat shock protein 70 and Hsp90. Previous studies have addressed the relationship between BAG2 and heat shock protein 70-associated ubiquitin ligase. BAG2 homologs are present in the genome of organisms with CHIP, but not in fungi lacking CHIP. In vivo, BAG2 colocalizes with CHIP, especially within the endoplasmic reticulum. Use a binding test, Dai et al. was shown that BAG2 binds to CHIP as part of the Hsc70 ternary complex. They also indicated that BAG2 is a potent and specific inhibitor of CHIP-dependent ubiquitin ligase activity.

Further investigation proved that BAG2 NTD inhibits the ubiquitin ligase activity of CHIP by abrogating CHIP/E2 cooperation and stimulates the chaperone-assisted maturation of CFTR. Researchers held that this inhibitory activity is dependent on localizing to Hsp70-CHIP chaperone complexes through the BAG2 BNB–Hsp70-NBD association. Given this, additional studies on the BAG2 NTD and full-length BAG2 are necessary to better understand their mechanisms and intracellular functions. Further studies have shown that BAG2 NTD inhibits the ubiquitin ligase activity of the CHIP through destroy the cooperation of the CHIP/E2 and stimulates the maturity of CFTR chaperone-assisted maturation of CFTR. The researchers believe that this inhibitory activity is dependent on the localization to the Hsp70-CHIP chaperone complexes by the BAG2 BNB.

Interaction with other related proteins

BAG2 is phosphorylated by MAPK-activated protein (MAPKAP) kinase 2, which is known as the major p38 MAPK substrate, which mediates several p38 MAPK-dependent processes. This phosphorylation is part of a new signaling pathway involved in extracellular stress responses. MAPK cascade integrates and processes various extracellular signals through phosphorylation matrix. Various stresses, endotoxins and cytokines activate P38, which phosphorylates and regulates downstream protein kinases to regulate various intracellular processes. Enrichment of phosphorylated proteins, fluorescence two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometric identification of proteins, Ueda et al. found that BAG2 is a candidate for a target for p38 MAPK-dependent phosphorylation in response to anisomycin treatment in HeLa cells. They confirmed that phosphorylation of BAG2 need MAPKAP kinase 2 in vitro and in vivo. Hsp90 is required for ERK1/2 activation and associates with BAG2. Previous studies have shown that BAG2 overexpression reverses p38-dependent nicotine-induced tau phosphorylation. This may be due to inhibition of ERK1/2 interaction with Hsp90 by BAG2-mediated phosphorylation tau, which depend on BAG2 phosphorylate p38/MAPKAPK2.

Fig. 2. BAG2 switch the p38-dependent effects of nicotine on tau phosphorylation levels. (Adriele et al. Experimental Neurology. 2016)


  1. Schönbühler B, Schmitt V, Huesmann H, Kern A, Gamerdinger M, Behl C. BAG2 Interferes with CHIP-Mediated Ubiquitination of HSP72. Tegeder I, ed. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(1):69.
  2. Qu D, Hage A, Don-Carolis K, et al. BAG2 Gene-mediated Regulation of PINK1 Protein Is Critical for Mitochondrial Translocation of PARKIN and Neuronal Survival. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2015;290(51):30441-30452.
  3. Qin L, Guo J, Zheng Q, Zhang H. BAG2 structure, function and involvement in disease. Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters. 2016; 21:18.
  4. Adriele Silva, Alvesde Oliveiraa, Fernando EnriqueSantiagoa, Laiz FurlanBalionia, et al. BAG2 expression dictates a functional intracellular switch between the p38-dependent effects of nicotine on tau phosphorylation levels via the α7 nicotinic receptor. Experimental Neurology. Volume 275, Part 1, January 2016, Pages 69-77.
  5. Che XQ, Tang BS, Wang HF, Yan XX, Jiang H, Shen L, Xu Q, Wang GH, Zhang HN, Wang CY, et al. The BAG2 and BAG5 proteins inhibit the ubiquitination of pathogenic ataxin Q. Int J Neurosci. 2015 May; 125(5):390-4. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

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