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Wednesday 25 June 2003



Definition: 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.

See also : necroptosis

Much of what happens during the demolition phase of apoptosis is orchestrated by members of the caspase family of cysteine proteases (CASPs).

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.


- T cells killing cancer cells; The "burst" of calcium happens with apoptosis onset.

Apoptosis molecular pathways

- caspases-dependent apoptosis pathway
- caspases-independent apoptosis pathway


- keratinocyte apoptosis
- colorectal glandular cells apoptosis

Pathology of apoptosis

-  pathology of caspases

  • caspase-9 (CASP9)

- pathology of fas and fas-ligand
- pathology of the bcl-2 pathway
- pathology of P53
- defects in the transmembrane tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNF-R1): familial periodic fever syndrome
- mutations in the homologous receptor Fas (CD95; Apo-1) in malignant lymphomas, solid tumors and the autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome type I (ALPS I)
- mutation in the ligand for Fas (FASL; Fas ligand; CD95 ligand, Apo-1 ligand): systemic lupus erythematosus and lymphadenopathy
- Perforin (cytotoxic protein of T- and NK-cells for target cell killing): familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis
- Caspase 10 (CASP10) (caspase family of proteases): autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome type II (ALPS II)
- intracellular pro-apoptotic molecule bcl-10: mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas and various non-hematologic malignancies
- p53 (TP53), an executioner of DNA damage triggered apoptosis
- Bax (BAX), a pro-apoptotic molecule with the ability to perturb mitochondrial membrane integrity, are frequently mutated in malignant neoplasms
- anti-apoptotic proteins like bcl-2, cellular-inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2 (c-IAP2)
- neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein 1 (NAIP1) are often altered in follicular lymphomas, MALT lymphomas and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)

See also

- apoptosome
- apoptotic body
- inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs)
- apoptosis in neurodegenerative disorders
- mitochondria-mediated apoptosis
- apoptotic hepatocytes (apoptotic bodies)
- apoptotic keratinocytes
- apoptotic engulfment
- anti-apoptosis therapy


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