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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Feb 1;302(3):H716-23. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00455.2011. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

Mitochondrial Akt-regulated mitochondrial apoptosis signaling in cardiac muscle cells.

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Center for Diabetes Research and Treatment, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


We recently reported translocation and activation of Akt in cardiac mitochondria. This study was to determine whether activation of Akt in mitochondria could inhibit apoptosis of cardiac muscle cells. Insulin stimulation induced translocation of phosphorylated Akt to the mitochondria in primary cardiomyocytes. A mitochondria-targeted constitutively active Akt was overexpressed via adenoviral vector and inhibited efflux of cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor from mitochondria to cytosol and partially prevented loss of mitochondria cross-membrane electrochemical gradient. Activation of caspase 3 was suppressed in the cardiomyocytes transduced with mitochondria-targeted active Akt, whereas a mitochondria-targeted dominant negative Akt enhanced activation of caspase 3. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP-mediated nick-end labeling assay showed that mitochondrial activation of Akt significantly reduced the number of apoptotic cells. When the endogenous Akt was abolished by LY294002, the antiapoptotic actions of mitochondrial Akt remained effective. These experiments suggested that mitochondrial Akt suppressed apoptosis signaling independent of cytosolic Akt in cardiac muscle cells.

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