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J Virol. 2003 Jan;77(1):631-41.

Disruption of mitochondrial networks by the human cytomegalovirus UL37 gene product viral mitochondrion-localized inhibitor of apoptosis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5124, USA.


By 24 h after infection with human cytomegalovirus, the reticular mitochondrial network characteristic of uninfected fibroblasts was disrupted as mitochondria became punctate and dispersed. These alterations were associated with expression of the immediate-early (alpha) antiapoptotic UL37x1 gene product viral mitochondrion-localized inhibitor of apoptosis (vMIA). Similar alterations in mitochondrial morphology were induced directly by vMIA in transfected cells. A 68-amino-acid antiapoptotic derivative of vMIA containing the mitochondrial localization and antiapoptotic domains also induced disruption, whereas a mutant lacking the antiapoptotic domain failed to cause disruption. These data suggest that the fission and/or fusion process that normally controls mitochondrial networks is altered by vMIA. Mitochondrial fission has been implicated in the induction of apoptosis and vMIA-mediated inhibition of apoptosis may occur subsequent to this event.

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