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Nat Struct Biol. 2001 May;8(5):394-401.

A structural view of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Lewis Thomas Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


Mitochondria-mediated apoptosis plays a central role in animal development and tissue homeostasis, and its alteration results in a range of malignant disorders including cancer. Upon apoptotic stimuli, the mitochondrial proteins cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO are released into the cytosol, where they synergistically activate caspases by activating Apaf-1 and relieving the apoptotic inhibition by IAPs. Recent biochemical and structural studies reveal a molecular basis for these important events and identify an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of apoptosis from fruit flies to mammals.

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