Send to

Choose Destination
Methods Mol Biol. 2003;234:203-9.

Detection of mitochondrial localization of p53.

Author information

Department of Pathology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA.


p53 is a master regulator of cell death pathways and has transcription-dependent and transcription- independent modes of action. Mitochondria are major signal transducers in apoptosis and are critical for p53-dependent cell death. Recently, we discovered that a fraction of stress-induced wild-type p53 protein rapidly translocates to mitochondria during p53-dependent apoptosis. Suborganellar localization by various methods shows that p53 predominantly localizes to the surface of mitochondria. Moreover, bypassing the nucleus by targeting p53 to mitochondria is sufficient to induce apoptosis in p53-null cells, without requiring further DNA damage. Here, we describe subcellular fractionation as a classic technique for detecting mitochondrial p53 in cell extracts. It consists of cell homogenization by hypo-osmotic swelling, removal of nuclear components by low-speed centrifugation, and mitochondrial isolation by a discontinuous sucrose density gradient. p53 and other mitochondrial proteins can then be detected by standard immunoblotting procedures. The quality of mitochondrial isolates can be verified for purity and intactness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center