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Aging Cell. 2003 Feb;2(1):39-45.

Apoptosis, necrosis and cellular senescence: chaperone occupancy as a potential switch.

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Department of Medical Chemistry, Semmelweis University, PO Box 260, H-1444 Budapest, Hungary.


Chaperone function plays a key role in repairing proteotoxic damage and in the maintenance of cell survival. Here we compare the regulatory role of molecular chaperones (heat shock proteins, stress proteins) in cellular senescence, apoptosis and necrosis. We also review the current data on chaperone level and function in aging cells, and list some possible therapeutic interventions. Finally, we postulate a hypothesis, that increasing chaperone occupancy might be an important event which forces cells out of the normal cell cycle towards senescence. In the case of severe stress, this may lead to apoptosis or, following lethal stress, to cell necrosis.

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