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Cell Death Differ. 2002 Sep;9(9):926-33.

Reovirus-induced apoptosis requires both death receptor- and mitochondrial-mediated caspase-dependent pathways of cell death.

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Department of Neurology, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Apoptosis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of many viral infections. Despite this fact, the apoptotic pathways triggered during viral infections are incompletely understood. We now provide the first detailed characterization of the pattern of caspase activation following infection with a cytoplasmically replicating RNA virus. Reovirus infection of HEK293 cells results in the activation of caspase-8 followed by cleavage of the pro-apoptotic protein Bid. This initiates the activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway leading to release of cytochrome c and activation of caspase-9. Combined activation of death receptor and mitochondrial pathways results in downstream activation of effector caspases including caspase-3 and caspase-7 and cleavage of cellular substrates including PARP. Apoptosis is initiated by death receptor pathways but requires mitochondrial amplification producing a biphasic pattern of caspase-8, Bid, and caspase-3 activation.

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