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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Feb 27;98(5):2735-9. Epub 2001 Feb 13.

Programmed cell death mediated by ced-3 and ced-4 protects Caenorhabditis elegans from Salmonella typhimurium-mediated killing.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Programmed cell death (PCD) in mammals has been implicated in several disease states including cancer, autoimmune disease, and neurodegenerative disease. In Caenorhabditis elegans, PCD is a normal component of development. We find that Salmonella typhimurium colonization of the C. elegans intestine leads to an increased level of cell death in the worm gonad. S. typhimurium-mediated germ-line cell death is not observed in C. elegans ced-3 and ced-4 mutants in which developmentally regulated cell death is blocked, and ced-3 and ced-4 mutants are hypersensitive to S. typhimurium-mediated killing. These results suggest that PCD may be involved in the C. elegans defense response to pathogen attack.

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