JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Early changes in intramitochondrial cardiolipin distribution during apoptosis.

Cardiolipin (CL) is essential for the functionality of several mitochondrial proteins. Its distribution between the inner and outer leaflet of the mitochondrial internal membrane is crucial for ATP synthesis. We have investigated alterations in CL distribution during the early phases of apoptosis. Using two classical models (staurosporine-treated HL-60 cells and tumor necrosis factor alpha-treated U937 cells), we found that in apoptotic cells CL moves to the outer leaflet of mitochondrial inner membrane in a time-dependent manner. This occurs before the appearance of apoptosis markers such as plasma-membrane exposure of phosphatidylserine, changes in mitochondrial membrane potential, DNA fragmentation, but after the production of reactive oxygen species. The exposure of a phospholipid on the outer surface during apoptosis thus occurs not only at the plasma membrane level but also in mitochondria, reinforcing the hypothesis of mitoptosis as a crucial regulating system for programmed cell death, also occurring in cancer cells after treatment with antineoplastic agents.

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