How do Bax and Bak lead to permeabilization of the outer mitochondrial membrane?
Antignani A, Youle RJ
Current Opinion in Cell Biology (2006)
Category: apoptosis, mitochondria, mitochondria-morphology ¤ Added: Jan 11, 2007 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Bcl-2 family members, like the structurally similar translocation domain of diphtheria toxin, can form ion-selective channels and larger-diameter pores in artificial lipid bilayers. Recent studies show how Bcl-2 family members change topology in membranes during apoptosis and that these different states may either promote or inhibit apoptosis. Binding of BH3-only proteins alters the subcellular localization and/or membrane topology and probably affects the channel formation of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Bcl-w. However, it remains unclear how the pore-forming activity functions in cells to regulate mitochondrial membrane permeabilization and cell death. Bcl-2 family members in flies and worms regulate apoptosis by mechanisms seemingly unrelated to membrane permeabilization, leaving a unifying model for the biochemical activity of this protein family unknown. Work linking Bcl-2 family members to mitochondrial morphogenesis in worms and mammals suggests some common functions of Bcl-2 family proteins may exist.