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Biochemistry (Mosc). 2000 Aug;65(8):873-87.

Programmed cell death.

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Department of Cell Physiology and Immunology, School of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.


This paper reviews data on programmed cell death (apoptosis) in animals and plants. Necrosis is a pathological scenario of cell death, which entails an inflammatory response in animal tissues. Apoptosis results in the disintegration of animal/plant cells into membrane vesicles enclosing the intracellular content, which are thereupon engulfed by adjacent or specialized cells (phagocytes) in animals. Plants lack such specialized cells, and plant cell walls prevent phagocytosis. The paper considers the main molecular mechanisms of apoptosis in animals and the pathways of activation of caspases, evolutionarily conserved cysteine proteases. A self-contained section concerns itself with the process of programmed cell death (PCD) in microorganisms including: 1) cell death in the myxomycete Dictyostelium discoideum and the parasitic flagellate Trypanosoma cruzi; 2) PCD in genetically manipulated yeast expressing the proapoptotic Bax and Bak proteins; 3) the death of a part of a prokaryotic cell population upon the depletion of nutrient resources or under stress; 4) the elimination of cells after a loss of a plasmid encoding a stable cytotoxic agent in combination with an unstable antidote; and 5) PCD in phage-infected bacterial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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