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Cell Death Differ. 2002 May;9(5):493-504.

Rho GTPase signalling pathways in the morphological changes associated with apoptosis.

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Cancer Research Campaign Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology, Institute of Cancer Research, 237 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK.


The killing and removal of superfluous cells is an important step during embryonic development, tissue homeostasis, wound repair and the resolution of inflammation. A specific sequence of biochemical events leads to a form of cell death termed apoptosis, and ultimately to the disassembly of the dead cell for phagocytosis. Dynamic rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton are central to the morphological changes observed both in apoptosis and phagocytosis. Recent research has highlighted the importance of Rho GTPase signalling pathways to these changes in cellular architecture. In this review, we will discuss how these signal transduction pathways affect the structure of the actin cytoskeleton and allow for the efficient clearance of apoptotic cells.

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