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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Sep-Oct;1757(9-10):1301-11. Epub 2006 May 27.

Mitochondria as the target of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax.

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UMR 601 INSERM, Université de Nantes, 9 Quai Moncousu F-44035 Nantes, Cedex 01 France.


During apoptosis, engagement of the mitochondrial pathway involves the permeabilization of the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM), which leads to the release of cytochrome c and other apoptogenic proteins such as Smac/DIABLO, AIF, EndoG, Omi/HtraA2 and DDP/TIMM8a. OMM permeabilization depends on activation, translocation and oligomerization of multidomain Bcl-2 family proteins such as Bax or Bak. Factors involved in Bax conformational change and the function(s) of the distinct domains controlling the addressing and the insertion of Bax into mitochondria are described in this review. We also discuss our current knowledge on Bax oligomerization and on the molecular mechanisms underlying the different models accounting for OMM permeabilization during apoptosis.

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