Zinc deficiency induces apoptosis via mitochondrial p53- and caspase-dependent pathways in human neuronal precursor cells


Previous studies have shown that zinc deficiency leads to apoptosis of neuronal precursor cells in vivo and in vitro. In addition to the role of p53 as a nuclear transcription factor in zinc deficient cultured human neuronal precursors (NT-2), we have now identified the translocation of phosphorylated p53 to the mitochondria and p53-dependent increases in the pro-apoptotic mitochondrial protein BAX leading to a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential as demonstrated by a 25% decrease in JC-1 red:green fluorescence ratio.

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