Intrinsic apoptosis requires mitochondrial outer membrane disruption triggered by recruitment, activation, and oligomerization of the Bcl-2 homology protein Bax. Following oxidative stress, we demonstrated that the transcriptional regulator cyclin C is released into the cytosol where it directs mitochondrial fragmentation and efficient apoptotic induction. This study reveals that cytoplasmic cyclin C is required for both normal Bax activation and its efficient mitochondrial localization. This activity appears direct as cyclin C co-immunoprecipitates with active Bax in stressed cells and binds recombinant Bax in vitro. In addition, stable cyclin C–Bax association requires the fission complex. Pharmacologically stimulating cyclin C nuclear release is sufficient for Bax association and their mitochondrial localization in the absence of any stress signals. However, these cells do not undergo cell death as Bax fails to oligomerize. These data support a model that cyclin C association defines an initial step in Bax mitochondrial recruitment and provides a physical connection between the fission and apoptotic factors. This strategy allows the cell to discriminate stress-induced fission able to recruit Bax from other types of mitochondrial divisions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology