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FEBS Lett. 2002 Mar 27;515(1-3):66-70.

Caspase-3 is not essential for DNA fragmentation in MCF-7 cells during apoptosis induced by the pyrrolo-1,5-benzoxazepine, PBOX-6.

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Biochemistry Department, Trinity College, 2, Dublin, Ireland.


Effector caspases-3, -6 and -7 are responsible for producing the morphological features associated with apoptosis, such as DNA fragmentation. The present study demonstrates that a member of a novel series of pyrrolo-1,5-benzoxazepines, PBOX-6, induces apoptosis in MCF-7 cells, which lack caspase-3. Apoptosis was accompanied by DNA fragmentation and the activation of caspase-7, but not caspases-3 and -6. Inhibition of caspase-7 activity reduced the extent of apoptosis induced, indicating that activation of caspase-7 is involved in the mechanism by which PBOX-6 induces apoptosis in MCF-7 cells. This study suggests that caspase-3 is not necessarily essential for DNA fragmentation and the morphological changes associated with apoptosis.

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