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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Mar 1;1644(2-3):107-13.

Control of mitochondrial permeability by Bcl-2 family members.

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Biochemistry Section, Surgical Neurology Branch, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Programmed cell death (apoptosis) is regulated by the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Although it remains unclear how these family members control apoptosis, they clearly have the capacity to regulate the permeability of intracellular membranes to ions and proteins. Proapoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family, especially Bax and Bid, have been extensively analyzed for the ability to form channels in membranes and to regulate preexisting channels. Anti-apoptotic members of the family tend to have the opposing effects on membrane channel formation. The molecular mechanisms of the different models for the permeabilization of membranes by the Bcl-2 family members and the regulation of Bcl-2 family member subcellular localizations are discussed.

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