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Autophagy. 2010 Jan;6(1):163-5. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Larval midgut destruction in Drosophila: not dependent on caspases but suppressed by the loss of autophagy.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology, Adelaide, SA, Australia.


While most programmed cell death (PCD) in animal development is reliant upon the caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway and subsequent cleavage of caspase substrates, we found that PCD in Drosophila larval midgut occurs normally in the absence of the main components of the apoptotic machinery. However, when some of the components of the autophagic machinery were disrupted, midgut destruction was severely delayed. These studies demonstrate that Drosophila midgut PCD is executed by a novel mechanism where caspases are apparently dispensable, but that requires autophagy.

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