Bax and Adenine Nucleotide Translocator Cooperate in the Mitochondrial Control of Apoptosis

Science  25 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5385, pp. 2027-2031
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.2027

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The proapoptotic Bax protein induces cell death by acting on mitochondria. Bax binds to the permeability transition pore complex (PTPC), a composite proteaceous channel that is involved in the regulation of mitochondrial membrane permeability. Immunodepletion of Bax from PTPC or purification of PTPC from Bax-deficient mice yielded a PTPC that could not permeabilize membranes in response to atractyloside, a proapoptotic ligand of the adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT). Bax and ANT coimmunoprecipitated and interacted in the yeast two-hybrid system. Ectopic expression of Bax induced cell death in wild-type but not in ANT-deficient yeast. Recombinant Bax and purified ANT, but neither of them alone, efficiently formed atractyloside-responsive channels in artificial membranes. Hence, the proapoptotic molecule Bax and the constitutive mitochondrial protein ANT cooperate within the PTPC to increase mitochondrial membrane permeability and to trigger cell death.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this report.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kroemer{at}

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