Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2005 Feb 17;433(7027):754-60.

DRP-1-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation during EGL-1-induced cell death in C. elegans.

Author information

Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.


Genetic analyses in Caenorhabditis elegans have been instrumental in the elucidation of the central cell-death machinery, which is conserved from C. elegans to mammals. One possible difference that has emerged is the role of mitochondria. By releasing cytochrome c, mitochondria are involved in the activation of caspases in mammals. However, there has previously been no evidence that mitochondria are involved in caspase activation in C. elegans. Here we show that mitochondria fragment in cells that normally undergo programmed cell death during C. elegans development. Mitochondrial fragmentation is induced by the BH3-only protein EGL-1 and can be blocked by mutations in the bcl-2-like gene ced-9, indicating that members of the Bcl-2 family might function in the regulation of mitochondrial fragmentation in apoptotic cells. Mitochondrial fragmentation is independent of CED-4/Apaf-1 and CED-3/caspase, indicating that it occurs before or simultaneously with their activation. Furthermore, DRP-1/dynamin-related protein, a key component of the mitochondrial fission machinery, is required and sufficient to induce mitochondrial fragmentation and programmed cell death during C. elegans development. These results assign an important role to mitochondria in the cell-death pathway in C. elegans.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center