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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2004 Dec;36(12):2463-72.

Role of mitochondrial permeability transition pores in mitochondrial autophagy.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7090, 236 Taylor Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7090, USA.


During autophagy, cells rid themselves of damaged and superfluous mitochondria, as well as other organelles. This activation of mitochondrial turnover could be the result of changes in the physiological state of mitochondria. Confocal microscopy and fluorescence techniques indicate that onset of mitochondrial permeability transition is one such change. The mitochondrial permeability transition is a reversible phenomenon whereby the mitochondrial inner membrane becomes freely permeable to solutes of less than 1500 Da. At onset of the mitochondrial permeability transition, mitochondria depolarize, uncouple, and undergo large amplitude swelling due to opening of permeability transition pores, which may form by aggregation of damaged, misfolded membrane proteins. When injurious cellular stresses occur, cells may protect themselves using autophagy to remove damaged mitochondria and mutated mitochondrial DNA. Ca(2+) overloading, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, and oxidation of pyridine nucleotides and glutathione all promote mitochondrial damage and onset of the mitochondrial permeability transition. The mitochondrial permeability transition is also associated with necrosis and apoptosis after a variety of stimuli. This review emphasizes the role of the mitochondrial permeability transition as a key event in mitochondrial autophagy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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