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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 2;279(1):177-87. Epub 2003 Oct 15.

Molecular components of a cell death pathway activated by endoplasmic reticulum stress.

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The Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, California 94945, USA.


Alterations in Ca2+ homeostasis and accumulation of misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) cause ER stress that ultimately leads to programmed cell death. Recent studies have shown that ER stress triggers programmed cell death via an alternative intrinsic pathway of apoptosis that, unlike the intrinsic pathway described previously, is independent of Apaf-1 and cytochrome c. In the present work, we have used a set of complementary approaches, including two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry and nano-liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry with tandem mass spectrometry, RNA interference, co-immunoprecipitation, immunodepletion of candidate proteins, and reconstitution studies, to identify mediators of the ER stress-induced cell death pathway. Our data identify two molecules, valosin-containing protein and apoptosis-linked gene-2 (ALG-2), that appear to play a role in mediating ER stress-induced cell death.

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