Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization: a focus on the role of mitochondrial membrane structural organization

Siti Haji Suhaili, Hamed Karimian, Matthew Stellato, Tzong-Hsien Lee, Marie-Isabel Aguilar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Apoptosis is important in regulating cell death turnover and is mediated by the intrinsic and death receptor-based extrinsic pathways which converge at the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) leading to mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP). MOMP results in the release of apoptotic proteins that further activate the downstream pathway of apoptosis. Thus, tight regulation of MOMP is crucial in controlling apoptosis, and a lack of control may lead to tissue and organ malformation and the development of cancers. Despite a growing number of studies focusing on the structure and activity of the proteins involved in mediating MOMP, such as the Bcl-2 family proteins, the mechanism of MOMP is not well understood. In particular, the crucial role of the various structural properties and changes in lipid components of the MOM in mediating the recruitment and activation of different Bcl-2 proteins remains poorly understood. Furthermore, the factors that control the changes in mitochondrial membrane integrity from the initiation to the final disruption of MOM have yet to be clearly defined. In this review, we provide an overview of studies that focus on the mitochondrial membrane with a biophysical analysis of the interactions of the Bcl-2 proteins with the mitochondrial membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-457
Number of pages15
JournalBiophysical Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2 proteins
  • Membrane interactions
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP)

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