The role of the mitochondrial apoptosis induced channel MAC in cytochrome c release

Sonia Martinez-Caballero, Laurent M. Dejean, Elizabeth A. Jonas, Kathleen W. Kinnally

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane is a crucial event during apoptosis. It allows the release of proapoptotic factors, like cytochrome c, from the intermembrane space, and represents the commitment step in apoptosis. The mitochondrial apoptosis-induced channel, MAC, is a high-conductance channel that forms during early apoptosis and is the putative cytochrome c release channel. Unlike activation of the permeability transition pore, MAC formation occurs without loss of outer membrane integrity and depolarization. The single channel behavior and pharmacology of reconstituted MAC has been characterized with patch-clamp techniques. Furthermore, MAC's activity is compared to that detected in mitochondria inside the cells at the time cytochrome c is released. Finally, the regulation of MAC by the Bcl-2 family proteins and insights concerning its molecular composition are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Bax
  • Cytochrome c
  • Mitochondrial apoptosis-induced channel MAC
  • Patch clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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