Superoxide in apoptosis. Mitochondrial generation triggered by cytochrome c loss

Jiyang Cai, Dean P. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

729 Scopus citations


Activation of apoptosis is associated with generation of reactive oxygen species. The present research shows that superoxide is produced by mitochondria isolated from apoptotic cells due to a switch from the normal 4- electron reduction of O2 to a 1-electron reduction when cytochrome c is released from mitochondria. Bcl-2, a protein that protects against apoptosis and blocks cytochrome c release, prevents superoxide production when it is overexpressed. The switch in electron transfer provides a mechanism for redox signaling that is concomitant with cytochrome c-dependent activation of caspases. The block of cytochrome c release provides a mechanism for the apparent antioxidant function of Bcl-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11401-11404
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 8 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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