The mitochondrion in apoptosis: how Pandora's box opens

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Jan;2(1):67-71. doi: 10.1038/35048073.


There is widespread agreement that mitochondria have a function in apoptosis, but the mechanisms behind their involvement remain controversial. Here we suggest that opening of a multiprotein complex called the mitochondrial permeability transition pore complex is sufficient (and, usually, necessary) for triggering apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Intracellular Membranes / physiology
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial ADP, ATP Translocases / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological
  • Permeability
  • Porins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / physiology
  • Voltage-Dependent Anion Channels
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein


  • Porins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Voltage-Dependent Anion Channels
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Mitochondrial ADP, ATP Translocases