Regulation of mitochondrial membrane permeabilization by BCL-2 family proteins and caspases

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2004 Dec;16(6):647-52. doi: 10.1016/


Mitochondria play an important role in the integration and transmission of cell death signals, activating caspases and other cell death execution events by releasing apoptogenic proteins from the intermembrane space. The BCL-2 family of proteins localize (or can be targeted) to mitochondria and regulate the permeability of the mitochondrial outer membrane to these apoptotic factors. Recent evidence suggests that multiple mechanisms may regulate the release of mitochondrial factors, some of which depend on the action of caspases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Caspases