Mitochondrial control of caspase-dependent and -independent cell death.

Inserm, U895, Centre Méditerranéen de Médecine Moléculaire (C3M), équipe 3 AVENIR, 06204, Nice Cedex 3, France.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS (Impact Factor: 5.86). 02/2010; 67(10):1589-97. DOI: 10.1007/s00018-010-0285-y
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mitochondria control whether a cell lives or dies. The role mitochondria play in deciding the fate of a cell was first identified in the mid-1990s, because mitochondria-enriched fractions were found to be necessary for activation of death proteases, the caspases, in a cell-free model of apoptotic cell death. Mitochondrial involvement in apoptosis was subsequently shown to be regulated by Bcl-2, a protein that was known to contribute to cancer in specific circumstances. The important role of mitochondria in promoting caspase activation has therefore been a major focus of apoptosis research; however, it is also clear that mitochondria contribute to cell death by caspase-independent mechanisms. In this review, we will highlight recent findings and discuss the mechanism underlying the mitochondrial control of apoptosis and caspase-independent cell death.

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