Spatial and temporal changes in Bax subcellular localization during anoikis

Anthony J. Valentijn, Anthony D. Metcalfe, Jane Kott, Charles H. Streuli, Andrew P. Gilmore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Bax, a member of the Bcl-2 family, translocates to mitochondria during apoptosis, where it forms oligomers which are thought to release apoptogenic factors such as cytochrome c. Using anoikis as a model system, we have examined spatial and temporal changes in Bax distribution. Bax translocates to mitochondria within 15 min of detaching cells from extracellular matrix, but mitochondrial permeabilization does not occur for a number of hours. The formation of Bax oligomers and perimitochondrial clusters occurs concomitant with caspase activation and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, before nuclear condensation. Cells can be rescued from apoptosis if they are replated onto extracellular matrix within an hour, whereas cells detached for longer could not. The loss of ability to rescue cells from anoikis occurs after Bax translocation, but before the formation of clusters and cytochrome c release. Our data suggest that Bax regulation occurs at several levels, with formation of clusters a late event, and with critical changes determining cell fate occurring earlier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2003


  • Anoikis
  • Apoptosis
  • Bax
  • Caspases
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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