Taylor RC, Cullen SP, Martin SJApoptosis: controlled demolition at the cellular level. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 9: 231-241

Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory, Department of Genetics, The Smurfit Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology (Impact Factor: 37.81). 04/2008; 9(3):231-41. DOI: 10.1038/nrm2312
Source: PubMed


Apoptosis is characterized by a series of dramatic perturbations to the cellular architecture that contribute not only to cell death, but also prepare cells for removal by phagocytes and prevent unwanted immune responses. Much of what happens during the demolition phase of apoptosis is orchestrated by members of the caspase family of cysteine proteases. These proteases target several hundred proteins for restricted proteolysis in a controlled manner that minimizes damage and disruption to neighbouring cells and avoids the release of immunostimulatory molecules.

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    • "The defining features of apoptosis include cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation (karyorrhexis), chromatin condensation (pyknosis), and the presence of apoptotic bodies containing nuclear or cytoplasmic material and membrane blebbing . All of those features are due to the proteolytic activity of the cysteine proteases known as caspases (Taylor et al. 2008). In apoptosis, the integrity of the plasma membrane persists until late in the process. "
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    • "During the last few years, an extensive research of apoptosis becomes increasingly publicized (Elmore, 2007; Lockshin and Zakeri, 2007; Fulda, 2008; 2009; 2010; Li, 2008; Fulda and Debatin, 2008; Taylor et al., 2008; Vazquez et al., 2008; Youle and Strasser, 2008; Chen and Pervaiz, 2009; Deng et al., 2009; Engel and Henshall, 2009; Lu and El-Deiry, 2009; Circu and Aw; 2010; da Fonseca et al., 2010; Fulda and Pervaiz, 2010; Galluzzi et al., 2010; Lamkanfi and Kanneganti, 2010; Speidel, 2010). This wealth of literature is elaborated for investigating the mechanisms by which different proteins and enzymes are altered and consequently lead to deregulation of apoptosis that is implicated in different diseases (Zhivotovsky and Orrenius, 2010) such as cancers (Chen and Lai, 2009; Buggins and Pepper, 2010; Pennarun et al., 2010), immunologic disorders (Elkon, 2006; Muñoz et al., 2010), neurodegenerative diseases (Yin and Dong, 2003), respiratory diseases; COPD (Makriset et al., 2009), pulmonary hypertension (Jurasz et al., 2010), acute respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) (Galani et al., 2010) and many others. "

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    • "There are two pathways that result in apoptosis depending on the apoptotic signal. The extrinsic pathway is initiated by ligand binding to membrane receptors of the death receptor family, whereas the intrinsic pathway is mediated by stress-mediated damage such as alterations in temperature, osmolality, DNA damaging agents, free radical generation compounds, removal of nutrients, and oxygen deprivation (Duprez et al., 2009; Taylor et al., 2008). The activation of the two pathways leads to the same type of apoptotic response, causing release of cytochrome c (Cyt-C) from mitochondria and activation of the executioner caspase-3 (Duprez et al., 2009; Taylor et al., 2008). "
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