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FEBS Lett. 2004 Jan 16;557(1-3):14-20.

Mitochondrial effectors in caspase-independent cell death.

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INSERM U542, 14 Av. Paul Vaillant Couturier, 94803 Villejuif, France.


Activation of caspases is recognized as a key element in the apoptotic process. However, new evidence is drawing attention to the emergent role of cell death pathways where caspases are not involved. Recent advances in the molecular understanding of these new ways to die, called caspase-independent, have revealed that mitochondria play an important role via the release of proapoptotic proteins. The purpose of this review is to integrate, from a biological and structural point of view, the most recent advances in the knowledge of the main mitochondrial proapoptotic proteins involved in this cell death cascade. The origin of programmed cell death is discussed through these strongly conserved effectors.

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