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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Apr;1813(4):532-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2010.10.017. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

Bcl-2 proteins and mitochondria--specificity in membrane targeting for death.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research, Faculty of Life Sciences The University of Manchester, UK. Jennefer.Lindsay@manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

The localization and control of Bcl-2 proteins on mitochondria is essential for the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. Anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins reside on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) and prevent apoptosis by inhibiting the activation of the pro-apoptotic family members Bax and Bak. The Bcl-2 subfamily of BH3-only proteins can either inhibit the anti-apoptotic proteins or directly activate Bax or Bak. How these proteins interact with each other, the mitochondrial surface and within the OMM are complex processes we are only beginning to understand. However, these interactions are fundamental for the transduction of apoptotic signals to mitochondria and the subsequent release of caspase activating factors into the cytosol. In this review we will discuss our knowledge of how Bcl-2 proteins are directed to mitochondria in the first place, a crucial but poorly understood aspect of their regulation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Mitochondria: the deadly organelle.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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