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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013, Article ID 146860, 10 pages
Review Article

Adenine Nucleotide Translocase, Mitochondrial Stress, and Degenerative Cell Death

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA

Received 10 May 2013; Revised 14 June 2013; Accepted 24 June 2013

Academic Editor: Sergio Giannattasio

Copyright © 2013 Yaxin Liu and Xin Jie Chen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mitochondria are intracellular organelles involved in ATP synthesis, apoptosis, calcium signaling, metabolism, and the synthesis of critical metabolic cofactors. Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with age-related degenerative diseases. How mitochondrial dysfunction causes cell degeneration is not well understood. Recent studies have shown that mutations in the adenine nucleotide translocase (Ant) cause aging-dependent degenerative cell death (DCD) in yeast, which is sequentially manifested by inner membrane stress, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) loss, and progressive loss of cell viability. Ant is an abundant protein primarily involved in ADP/ATP exchange across the mitochondrial inner membrane. It also mediates basal proton leak and regulates the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Missense mutations in the human Ant1 cause several degenerative diseases which are commonly manifested by fractional mtDNA deletions. Multiple models have been proposed to explain the Ant1-induced pathogenesis. Studies from yeast have suggested that in addition to altered nucleotide transport properties, the mutant proteins cause a global stress on the inner membrane. The mutant proteins likely interfere with general mitochondrial biogenesis in a dominant-negative manner, which secondarily destabilizes mtDNA. More recent work revealed that the Ant-induced DCD is suppressed by reduced cytosolic protein synthesis. This finding suggests a proteostatic crosstalk between mitochondria and the cytosol, which may play an important role for cell survival during aging.