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The Mitochondrial Pathways of Apoptosis

Abstract : Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death that serves as a major mechanism for the precise regulation of cell numbers, and as a defense mechanism to remove unwanted and potentially dangerous cells. Studies in nematode, Drosophila and mammals have shown that, although regulation of the cell death machinery is somehow different from one species to another, it is controlled by homologous proteins and involves mitochondria. In mammals, activation of caspases (cysteine pro-teases that are the main executioners of apoptosis) is under the tight control of the Bcl-2 family proteins , named in reference to the fi rst discovered mammalian cell death regulator. These proteins mainly act by regulating the release of caspases activators from mitochondria. Although for a long time the absence of mitochondrial changes was considered as a hallmark of apoptosis, mitochondria appear today as the central executioner of apoptosis. In this chapter, we present the current view on the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis with a particular attention to new aspects of the regulation of the Bcl-2 proteins family control of mitochondrial membrane permeabilization: the mechanisms implicated in their mitochondrial targeting and activation during apoptosis, the function(s) of the oncosuppressive protein p53 at the mitochondria and the role of the processes of mitochondrial fusion and fi ssion.
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Jérome Estaquier, François Vallette, Jean-Luc Vayssière, Bernard Mignotte. The Mitochondrial Pathways of Apoptosis. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Kluwer, 2012, Advances in Mitochondrial Medicine, 942, pp.157-183. ⟨10.1007/978-94-007-2869-1_7⟩. ⟨hal-02977703⟩

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