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Biochimie. 2011 Sep;93(9):1379-91. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2011.05.013. Epub 2011 May 30.

Bax: Addressed to kill.

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  • 1CNRS, Institut de Biochimie et de Génétique Cellulaires, UMR5095, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.


The pro-apoptototic protein Bax (Bcl-2 Associated protein X) plays a central role in the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway. In healthy mammalian cells, Bax is essentially cytosolic and inactive. Following a death signal, the protein is translocated to the outer mitochondrial membrane, where it promotes a permeabilization that favors the release of different apoptogenic factors, such as cytochrome c. The regulation of Bax translocation is associated to conformational changes that are under the control of different factors. The evidences showing the involvement of different Bax domains in its mitochondrial localization are presented. The interactions between Bax and its different partners are described in relation to their ability to promote (or prevent) Bax conformational changes leading to mitochondrial addressing and to the acquisition of the capacity to permeabilize the outer mitochondrial membrane.

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