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Dev Cell. 2008 Feb;14(2):193-204. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2007.11.019.

Chemical inhibition of the mitochondrial division dynamin reveals its role in Bax/Bak-dependent mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization.

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Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Mitochondrial fusion and division play important roles in the regulation of apoptosis. Mitochondrial fusion proteins attenuate apoptosis by inhibiting release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, in part by controlling cristae structures. Mitochondrial division promotes apoptosis by an unknown mechanism. We addressed how division proteins regulate apoptosis using inhibitors of mitochondrial division identified in a chemical screen. The most efficacious inhibitor, mdivi-1 (for mitochondrial division inhibitor) attenuates mitochondrial division in yeast and mammalian cells by selectively inhibiting the mitochondrial division dynamin. In cells, mdivi-1 retards apoptosis by inhibiting mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. In vitro, mdivi-1 potently blocks Bid-activated Bax/Bak-dependent cytochrome c release from mitochondria. These data indicate the mitochondrial division dynamin directly regulates mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization independent of Drp1-mediated division. Our findings raise the interesting possibility that mdivi-1 represents a class of therapeutics for stroke, myocardial infarction, and neurodegenerative diseases.

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