Myeloid cell leukimia-1 (Mcl-1) is a member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins that can act to promote cell survival. While the mechanism by which Mcl-1 inhibits apoptosis is not known, it is thought that it may heterodimerize and neutralize pro-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family such as Bim or Bak. Mcl-1 was originally identified in differentiating myeloid cells, but has since been shown to be expressed in multiple cell types. Mcl-1 is essential for embryogenesis and for the development and maintenance of B and T lymphocytes in animals. Mcl-1 exists as at least two distinct isoforms designated Mcl-1L and Mcl-1S. In marked contrast to the larger isoform of Mcl-1, overexpression of Mcl-1S promotes cell death.
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