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Monday 30 January 2006

Nucleases and apoptosis

Two classes of nucleases degrade the cellular DNA during apoptosis. Cell-autonomous nucleases cleave DNA within the dying cell. They are not essential for apoptotic cell death or the life of the organism, but they might affect the efficiency of the process. By contrast, waste-management nucleases are essential for the life of the organism.

In post-engulfment DNA degradation, the DNA of apoptotic cells is destroyed in lysosomes of the cells that have phagocytosed the corpses. Waste-management nucleases also destroy DNA that is released into the extracellular compartment.


- Samejima K, Earnshaw WC. Trashing the genome: the role of nucleases during apoptosis. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Sep;6(9):677-88. PMID: 16103871