Biochemical events in naturally occurring forms of cell death

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Several molecular elements of programmed cell death and apoptosis have recently been revealed. The function of gene products which deliver the lethal 'hit' is still not known. Well-characterized and newly discovered cell surface structures (e.g. antigen receptors, FAS/APO-1), as well as transcriptional factors (steroid receptor, c-myc, P53, retinoblastoma protein and others), have been implicated in the initiation of the death pathway. Negative regulators of the process (ced-9 gene product in programmed death of cells in Chaenorhabditis elegans and bcl-2 protein in apoptosis) have been described. Biochemical mechanisms responsible for the silent nature of natural deaths of cells include their rapid engulfment (mainly through integrin receptors), transglutaminase-catalyzed cross-linking of cellular proteins, and fragmentation of DNA. Several lines of evidence suggest that distinct molecular mechanisms may operate in various forms of natural cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 9 1993



  • Death control
  • Distinct form
  • Lethal switch
  • Negative regulator
  • Silent removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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