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TR3, an immediate-early response gene and an orphan member of the steroid-thyroid hormone-retinoid receptor superfamily of transcription factors, regulates apoptosis through an unknown mechanism. In response to apoptotic stimuli, TR3 translocates from the nucleus to mitochondria to induce cytochrome c release and apoptosis. Mitochondrial targeting of TR3, but not its DNA binding and transactivation, is essential for its proapoptotic effect. Our results reveal a mechanism by which a nuclear transcription factor translocates to mitochondria to initiate apoptosis.
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