J Biol Chem 2004 Jun 12;279(24):25689-95. Epub 2004 Apr 12.
Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy.
P66Shc regulates life span in mammals and is a critical component of the apoptotic response to oxidative stress. It functions as a downstream target of the tumor suppressor p53 and is indispensable for the ability of oxidative stress-activated p53 to induce apoptosis. The molecular mechanisms underlying the apoptogenic effect of p66Shc are unknown. Here we report the following three findings. (i) The apoptosome can be properly activated in vitro in the absence of p66Shc only if purified cytochrome c is supplied. (ii) Cytochrome c release after oxidative signals is impaired in the absence of p66Shc. (iii) p66Shc induces the collapse of the mitochondrial trans-membrane potential after oxidative stress. Furthermore, we showed that a fraction of cytosolic p66Shc localizes within mitochondria where it forms a complex with mitochondrial Hsp70. Treatment of cells with ultraviolet radiation induced the dissociation of this complex and the release of monomeric p66Shc. We propose that p66Shc regulates the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis by inducing mitochondrial damage after dissociation from an inhibitory protein complex. Genetic and biochemical evidence suggests that mitochondria regulate life span through their effects on the energetic metabolism (mitochondrial theory of aging). Our data suggest that mitochondrial regulation of apoptosis might also contribute to life span determination.