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Apoptosis-inducing factor and apoptosis.

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  • 1Department Marine of Biology, College of Life Sciences and Technology, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China.


Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) is a phylogenetically conserved mitochondrial intermembrane flavoprotein which has the ability to induce apoptosis via a caspase-independent pathway. AIF plays an important role in inducing nuclear chromatin condensation as well as large-scale DNA fragmentation (approximately 50 kb), and is essential for programmed cell death during cavitation of embryoid bodies. Two homologous proteins, AIF-homologous mitochondrion-associated inducer of death (AMID) and p53-responsive gene 3 (PRG3), also have apoptosis-inducing effects. Recent studies on mechanisms of AIF-mediated apoptotic DNA degradation in Caenorhabditis elegans reveal that WAH-1(an AIF homolog in C. elegans) induced apoptosis is CED-3-dependent. AIF also interacts with cytochrome c and caspases during mammalian apoptosis processes, indicating that different apoptotic pathways may be mutually cross-regulated to activate an apoptotic program.

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