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FEBS Lett. 2010 May 17;584(10):2049-56. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2010.01.038. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Contribution of voltage-gated potassium channels to the regulation of apoptosis.

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Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova 35121, Italy.


Recent evidence points to the crucial involvement of voltage-gated potassium channels (Kv) in apoptotic volume decrease and in the regulation of apoptosis in several systems. We have recently described the presence of a Kv channel, Kv1.3, in the mitochondria of lymphocytes. Expression of the channel correlated with increased sensitivity to apoptotic stimuli. Mitochondrial Kv1.3 contributes to the apoptotic cascade in T lymphocytes by interacting with pro-apoptotic Bax resulting in alteration of mitochondrial functional parameters and ultimately, in cytochrome c release. The present review summarizes the current understanding of the function of Kv channels in apoptosis in several cell types as well as the role of mitochondrial Kv1.3 in the regulation of cell death in lymphocytes.

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