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Apoptosis. 2011 May;16(5):491-501. doi: 10.1007/s10495-011-0587-z.

Apoptotic regulation of epithelial cellular extrusion.

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  • 1Department of Oncological Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 84112, USA.


Cellular extrusion is a mechanism that removes dying cells from epithelial tissues to prevent compromising their barrier function. Extrusion occurs in all observed epithelia in vivo and can be modeled in vitro by inducing apoptosis in cultured epithelial monolayers. We established that actin and myosin form a ring that contracts in the surrounding cells that drives cellular extrusion. It is not clear, however, if all apoptotic pathways lead to extrusion and how apoptosis and extrusion are molecularly linked. Here, we find that both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways activate cellular extrusion. The contraction force that drives cellular extrusion requires caspase activity. Further, necrosis does not trigger the cellular extrusion response, but instead necrotic cells are removed from epithelia by a passive, stochastic movement of epithelial cells.

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