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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Aug;1842(8):1186-97. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.12.015. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

p53 and mitochondrial function in neurons.

Author information

1
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Box 356470, Seattle, WA 98195-6470, USA.
2
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Box 356470, Seattle, WA 98195-6470, USA. Electronic address: yael@u.washington.edu.

Abstract

The p53 tumor suppressor plays a central role in dictating cell survival and death as a cellular sensor for a myriad of stresses including DNA damage, oxidative and nutritional stress, ischemia and disruption of nucleolar function. Activation of p53-dependent apoptosis leads to mitochondrial apoptotic changes via the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways triggering cell death execution most notably by release of cytochrome c and activation of the caspase cascade. Although it was previously believed that p53 induces apoptotic mitochondrial changes exclusively through transcription-dependent mechanisms, recent studies suggest that p53 also regulates apoptosis via a transcription-independent action at the mitochondria. Recent evidence further suggests that p53 can regulate necrotic cell death and autophagic activity including mitophagy. An increasing number of cytosolic and mitochondrial proteins involved in mitochondrial metabolism and respiration are regulated by p53, which influences mitochondrial ROS production as well. Cellular redox homeostasis is also directly regulated by p53 through modified expression of pro- and anti-oxidant proteins. Proper regulation of mitochondrial size and shape through fission and fusion assures optimal mitochondrial bioenergetic function while enabling adequate mitochondrial transport to accommodate local energy demands unique to neuronal architecture. Abnormal regulation of mitochondrial dynamics has been increasingly implicated in neurodegeneration, where elevated levels of p53 may have a direct contribution as the expression of some fission/fusion proteins are directly regulated by p53. Thus, p53 may have a much wider influence on mitochondrial integrity and function than one would expect from its well-established ability to transcriptionally induce mitochondrial apoptosis. However, much of the evidence demonstrating that p53 can influence mitochondria through nuclear, cytosolic or intra-mitochondrial sites of action has yet to be confirmed in neurons. Nonetheless, as mitochondria are essential for supporting normal neuronal functions and in initiating/propagating cell death signaling, it appears certain that the mitochondria-related functions of p53 will have broader implications than previously thought in acute and progressive neurological conditions, providing new therapeutic targets for treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitophagy; p53

PMID:
24412988
PMCID:
PMC4074561
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.12.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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