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      Apoptosis: a review of programmed cell death.

      Toxicologic pathology

      Animals, Apoptosis, genetics, physiology, DNA Fragmentation, drug effects, Humans, Necrosis

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          Abstract

          The process of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is generally characterized by distinct morphological characteristics and energy-dependent biochemical mechanisms. Apoptosis is considered a vital component of various processes including normal cell turnover, proper development and functioning of the immune system, hormone-dependent atrophy, embryonic development and chemical-induced cell death. Inappropriate apoptosis (either too little or too much) is a factor in many human conditions including neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic damage, autoimmune disorders and many types of cancer. The ability to modulate the life or death of a cell is recognized for its immense therapeutic potential. Therefore, research continues to focus on the elucidation and analysis of the cell cycle machinery and signaling pathways that control cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. To that end, the field of apoptosis research has been moving forward at an alarmingly rapid rate. Although many of the key apoptotic proteins have been identified, the molecular mechanisms of action or inaction of these proteins remain to be elucidated. The goal of this review is to provide a general overview of current knowledge on the process of apoptosis including morphology, biochemistry, the role of apoptosis in health and disease, detection methods, as well as a discussion of potential alternative forms of apoptosis.

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          Most cited references 118

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          The green fluorescent protein.

          In just three years, the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria has vaulted from obscurity to become one of the most widely studied and exploited proteins in biochemistry and cell biology. Its amazing ability to generate a highly visible, efficiently emitting internal fluorophore is both intrinsically fascinating and tremendously valuable. High-resolution crystal structures of GFP offer unprecedented opportunities to understand and manipulate the relation between protein structure and spectroscopic function. GFP has become well established as a marker of gene expression and protein targeting in intact cells and organisms. Mutagenesis and engineering of GFP into chimeric proteins are opening new vistas in physiological indicators, biosensors, and photochemical memories.
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            Cleavage of BID by caspase 8 mediates the mitochondrial damage in the Fas pathway of apoptosis.

            We report here that BID, a BH3 domain-containing proapoptotic Bcl2 family member, is a specific proximal substrate of Casp8 in the Fas apoptotic signaling pathway. While full-length BID is localized in cytosol, truncated BID (tBID) translocates to mitochondria and thus transduces apoptotic signals from cytoplasmic membrane to mitochondria. tBID induces first the clustering of mitochondria around the nuclei and release of cytochrome c independent of caspase activity, and then the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, cell shrinkage, and nuclear condensation in a caspase-dependent fashion. Coexpression of BclxL inhibits all the apoptotic changes induced by tBID. Our results indicate that BID is a mediator of mitochondrial damage induced by Casp8.
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              Noxa, a BH3-only member of the Bcl-2 family and candidate mediator of p53-induced apoptosis.

              A critical function of tumor suppressor p53 is the induction of apoptosis in cells exposed to noxious stresses. We report a previously unidentified pro-apoptotic gene, Noxa. Expression of Noxa induction in primary mouse cells exposed to x-ray irradiation was dependent on p53. Noxa encodes a Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3)-only member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins; this member contains the BH3 region but not other BH domains. When ectopically expressed, Noxa underwent BH3 motif-dependent localization to mitochondria and interacted with anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, resulting in the activation of caspase-9. We also demonstrate that blocking the endogenous Noxa induction results in the suppression of apoptosis. Noxa may thus represent a mediator of p53-dependent apoptosis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                17562483
                2117903
                10.1080/01926230701320337

                Chemistry

                Animals, Apoptosis, genetics, physiology, DNA Fragmentation, drug effects, Humans, Necrosis

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