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Cell Death Differ. 2000 Dec;7(12):1192-9.

The 'harmless' release of cytochrome c.

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


Release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria plays an integral role in apoptosis; however, the mechanism by which cytochrome c is released remains one of the conundrums that has occupied the field. Recently, evidence has emerged that the commitment to death may be regulated downstream of cytochrome c release; therefore the mechanism of release must be subtle enough for the cell to recover from this event. In this review, we discuss the evidence that cytochrome c release is mediated by Bcl-2 family proteins in a process that involves only outer membrane permeability but leaves inner membrane energization, protein import function and the ultrastructure of mitochondria intact. Cell Death and Differentiation (2000) 7, 1192 - 1199.

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