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Science. 1998 Jan 9;279(5348):230-4.

Requirement for DCP-1 caspase during Drosophila oogenesis.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biology, 31 Ames Street, 68-430, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Caspases, a class of cysteine proteases, are an essential component of the apoptotic cell death program. During Drosophila oogenesis, nurse cells transfer their cytoplasmic contents to developing oocytes and then die. Loss of function for the dcp-1 gene, which encodes a caspase, caused female sterility by inhibiting this transfer. dcp-1- nurse cells were defective in the cytoskeletal reorganization and nuclear breakdown that normally accompany this process. The dcp-1- phenotype suggests that the cytoskeletal and nuclear events in the nurse cells make use of the machinery normally associated with apoptosis and that apoptosis of the nurse cells is a necessary event for oocyte development.

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