Differential susceptibility of subsarcolemmal and intermyofibrillar mitochondria to apoptotic stimuli
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Apoptosis can be evoked by reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced mitochondrial release of the proapoptotic factors cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). Because skeletal muscle is composed of two mitochondrial subfractions that reside in distinct subcellular regions, we investigated the apoptotic susceptibility of subsarcolemmal (SS) and intermyofibrillar (IMF) mitochondria. SS and IMF mitochondria exhibited a dose-dependent release of protein in response to H2O2 (0, 25, 50, and 100 microM). However, IMF mitochondria were more sensitive to H2O2 and released a 2.5-fold and 10-fold greater amount of cytochrome c and AIF, respectively, compared with SS mitochondria. This finding coincided with a 44% (P < 0.05) greater rate of opening (maximum rate of absorbance decrease, V(max)) of the protein release channel, the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mtPTP), in IMF mitochondria. IMF mitochondria also exhibited a 47% (P < 0.05) and 60% (0.05 < P < 0.1) greater expression of the key mtPTP component voltage-dependent anion channel and cyclophilin D, respectively, along with a threefold greater cytochrome c content, but similar levels of AIF compared with SS mitochondria. Despite a lower susceptibility to H2O2-induced release, SS mitochondria possessed a 10-fold greater Bax-to-Bcl-2 ratio (P < 0.05), a 2.7-fold greater rate of ROS production, and an approximately twofold greater membrane potential compared with IMF mitochondria. The expression of the antioxidant enzyme Mn2+-superoxide dismutase was similar between subfractions. Thus the divergent protein composition and function of the mtPTP between SS and IMF mitochondria contributes to a differential release of cytochrome c and AIF in response to ROS. Given the relatively high proportion of IMF mitochondria within a muscle fiber, this subfraction is likely most important in inducing apoptosis when presented with apoptotic stimuli, ultimately leading to myonuclear decay and muscle fiber atrophy.
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