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J Gen Virol. 2002 Jul;83(Pt 7):1547-64.

A time to kill: viral manipulation of the cell death program.

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The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Laboratory, Cancer Research Centre, School of Science, University of Ballarat, St John of God Hospital, 1002 Mair Street, Ballarat, Victoria 3350, Australia.


Many viruses have as part of their arsenal the ability to modulate the apoptotic pathways of the host. It is counter-intuitive that such simple organisms would be efficient at regulating this the most crucial pathway within the host, given the relative complexity of the host cells. Yet, viruses have the potential to initiate or stay the onset of programmed cell death through the manipulation of a variety of key apoptotic proteins. It is the intention of this review to provide an overview of viral gene products that are able to promote or inhibit apoptotic death of the host cell and to discuss their mechanisms of action. It is not until recently that the depth at which viruses exploit the apoptotic pathways of their host has been seen. This understanding may provide a great opportunity for future therapeutic ventures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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