Bcl-2 potentiates the maximal calcium uptake capacity of neural cell mitochondria

Anne N. Murphy, Dale E. Bredesen, Gino A Cortopassi, Endi Wang, Gary Fiskum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

373 Scopus citations


Expression of the human protooncogene bcl-2 protects neural cells from death induced by many forms of stress, including conditions that greatly elevate intracellular Ca2+. Considering that Bcl-2 is partially localized to mitochondrial membranes and that excessive mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake can impair electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation, the present study tested the hypothesis that mitochondria from Bcl-2-expressing cells have a higher capacity for energy-dependent Ca2+ uptake and a greater resistance to Ca2+-induced respiratory injury than mitochondria from cells that do not express this protein. The overexpression of bcl-2 enhanced the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake capacity using either digitonin-permeabilized GT1-7 neural cells or isolated GT1-7 mitochondria by 1.7 and 3.9 fold, respectively, when glutamate and malate were used as respiratory substrates. This difference was less apparent when respiration was driven by the oxidation of succinate in the presence of the respiratory complex I inhibitor rotenone. Mitochondria from Bcl-2 expressors were also much more resistant to inhibition of NADH- dependent respiration caused by sequestration of large Ca2+ loads. The enhanced ability of mitochondria within Bcl-2-expressing cells to sequester large quantities of Ca2+ without undergoing profound respiratory impairment provides a plausible mechanism by which Bcl-2 inhibits certain forms of delayed cell death, including neuronal death associated with ischemia and excitotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9893-9898
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 3 1996


  • apoptosis
  • electron transport chain
  • ischemia
  • mitochondrial respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Bcl-2 potentiates the maximal calcium uptake capacity of neural cell mitochondria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this