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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Apr 27;96(9):4936-41.

The proapoptotic function of Drosophila Hid is conserved in mammalian cells.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Biology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Three genes-reaper, grim, and hid-are crucial to the regulation of programmed cell death in Drosophila melanogaster. Mutations involving all three genes virtually abolish apoptosis during development, and homozygous hid mutants die as embryos with extensive defects in apoptosis. Although Hid is central to apoptosis in Drosophila, it has no mammalian homologue identified to date. We present evidence that expression of Drosophila Hid in mammalian cells induces apoptosis. This activity is subject to regulation by inhibitors of mammalian cell death. We show that the N terminus of Hid, which is a region of homology with Reaper and Grim, is essential for Hid's function in mammalian cells. We demonstrate that Hid is localized to the mitochondria via a hydrophobic region at its C terminus and functionally interacts with BclXL. This study shows that the function of Hid as a death inducer in Drosophila is conserved in mammalian cells and argues for the existence of a mammalian homologue of this critical regulator of apoptosis.

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