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Int Immunol. 1992 Jul;4(7):821-4.

Bcl-2 prevents death of factor-deprived cells but fails to prevent apoptosis in targets of cell mediated killing.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University Medical Center, CA 94305.


'Programmed cell death' has been used to describe the death of cells killed by cytotoxic T cells or growth factor deprivation. Although bcl-2 can prevent death of cells deprived of growth factor, it failed to protect cells against T cell killing. In spite of bcl-2 expression, the DNA of targeted cells was degraded into nucleosome-sized fragments. Therefore the early steps in apoptosis induced by factor deprivation differ from those triggered by cytotoxic T cells, although they share a common final pathway featuring degradation of the DNA and loss of cytoplasmic membrane integrity.

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