Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization during apoptosis: the innocent bystander scenario

Cell Death Differ. 2006 Aug;13(8):1396-402. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4401963. Epub 2006 May 19.


Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) is considered the 'point of no return' as this event is responsible for engaging the apoptotic cascade in numerous cell death pathways. MOMP is directly governed by a subset of the BCL-2 family of proapoptotic proteins, which induce disruptions in the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) and subsequent release of death-promoting proteins like cytochrome c. The proposal here is centered on our hypothesis that MOMP is dictated by an interaction between the cytosol and the OMM, and although proteins of the OMM may be important in the process, the 'decision' to undergo apoptosis originates within the cytosol with no participation (in terms of yes, no and when) by mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Bystander Effect / physiology*
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*
  • Permeability
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism


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