We review data supporting a model in which activated tBID results in an allosteric activation of BAK, inducing its intramembranous oligomerization into a proposed pore for cytochrome c efflux. The BH3 domain of tBID is not required for targeting but remains on the mitochondrial surface where it is required to trigger BAK to release cytochrome c. tBID functions not as a pore-forming protein but as a membrane targeted and concentrated death ligand. tBID induces oligomerization of BAK, and both Bid and Bak knockout mice indicate the importance of this event in the release of cytochrome c. In parallel, the full pro-apoptotic member BAX, which is highly homologous to BAK, rapidly forms pores in liposomes that release intravesicular FITC-cytochrome c Ο20Å. A definable pore progressed from Ο11Å consisting of two BAX molecules to a Ο22Å pore comprised of four BAX molecules, which transported cytochrome c. Thus, an activation cascade of pro-apoptotic proteins from BID to BAK or BAX integrates the pathway from surface death receptors to the irreversible efflux of cytochrome c.
- TBID oligomerization