The crystal structure of the mouse apoptosis-inducing factor AIF Article - Juin 2002

María Maté, Miguel Ortiz-Lombardía, Brigitte Boitel, Ahmed Haouz, Diana Tello, Santos Susin, Josef Penninger, Guido Kroemer, Pedro Alzari

María Maté, Miguel Ortiz-Lombardía, Brigitte Boitel, Ahmed Haouz, Diana Tello, Santos Susin, Josef Penninger, Guido Kroemer, Pedro Alzari, « The crystal structure of the mouse apoptosis-inducing factor AIF  », Nature Structural Biology, juin 2002, pp. 442-6. ISSN 1072-8368

Abstract

Mitochondria play a key role in apoptosis due to their capacity to release potentially lethal proteins. One of these latent death factors is cytochrome c, which can stimulate the proteolytic activation of caspase zymogens. Another important protein is apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), a flavoprotein that can stimulate a caspase-independent cell-death pathway required for early embryonic morphogenesis. Here, we report the crystal structure of mouse AIF at 2.0 A. Its active site structure and redox properties suggest that AIF functions as an electron transferase with a mechanism similar to that of the bacterial ferredoxin reductases, its closest evolutionary homologs. However, AIF structurally differs from these proteins in some essential features, including a long insertion in a C-terminal beta-hairpin loop, which may be related to its apoptogenic functions.

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