Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Mar;2(3):156-62.

The coordinate release of cytochrome c during apoptosis is rapid, complete and kinetically invariant.

Author information

  • 1Division of Cellular Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 10355 Science Center Drive, San Diego, California 92121, USA.


Release of cytochrome c from mitochondria triggers activation of caspase proteases and death of a cell by apoptosis. However, the mechanism and kinetics of cytochrome c release remain unknown. Here we study this event by using green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged cytochrome c, and find that the release of cytochrome-c-GFP always precedes exposure of phosphatidylserine and the loss of plasma-membrane integrity - characteristics of apoptotic cells. Once initiated, the release of cytochrome- c-GFP continues until all of the protein is released from all mitochondria in individual cells, within about 5 minutes, regardless of the type or strength of stimulus or the time elapsed since the stimulus was applied. Temperatures ranging from 24 degrees C to 37 degrees C do not change the duration of release, and nor does the addition of caspase inhibitors. Further, we find that the electron-transport chain can maintain the mitochondrial transmembrane potential even after cytochrome c has been released.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk