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J Cell Mol Med. 2006 Apr-Jun;10(2):353-63.

The Prohibitins: emerging roles in diverse functions.

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Department of Physiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


The prohibitins, Phb1 and Phb2 are highly conserved proteins in eukaryotic cells that are present in multiple cellular compartments. Initial investigations focused on the role of Phb1 as an inhibitor of cell proliferation hence the original name prohibitin. However both proteins appear to have a diverse range of functions and recent evidence suggests that the prohibitins have very similar but as yet only partially understood functions. In addition to their role as chaperone proteins in the mitochondria, and their ability to target to lipid rafts, their is now compelling evidence that both prohibitins are localized in the nucleus and can modulate transcriptional activity by interacting with various transcription factors, including the steroid hormone receptors, either directly or indirectly. In addition Phb1 and Phb2 are present in the circulation and can be internalized when added to cultured cells suggesting that the circulating prohibitins may have some regulatory role. This review presents some of the recent developments in prohibitin research and focuses on the similarities in the structure and function of these interesting proteins.

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