Pop Goes the Mitochondrion

Science's STKE  03 Aug 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 244, pp. tw282-TW282
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2442004TW282

In cells undergoing apoptosis or cell death, mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, often have a key role. Not only is cellular metabolism shut down, but mitochondria also release molecules into the cytoplasm that further promote cell death. Substantial controversy has surrounded the mechanisms by which these processes occur. Green and Kroemer review the role of mitochondria in cell death. Permeabilization of the mitochondria can be the point-of-no-return that seals the fate of a cell, and numerous strategies are envisioned to alter these processes therapeutically to benefit patients suffering from a range of illnesses from cancer and heart failure to neurodegeneration.

D. R. Green, G. Kroemer, The pathophysiology of mitochondrial cell death. Science 305, 626-629 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]