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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2006;22:623-50.

Caspase-dependent cell death in Drosophila.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


Cell death plays many roles during development, in the adult, and in the genesis of many pathological states. Much of this death is apoptotic in nature and requires the activity of members of the caspase family of proteases. It is now possible uniquely in Drosophila to carry out genetic screens for genes that determine the fate-life or death-of any population of cells during development and adulthood. This, in conjunction with the ability to obtain biochemical quantities of material, has made Drosophila a useful organism for exploring the mechanisms by which apoptosis is carried out and regulated. This review summarizes our knowledge of caspase-dependent cell death in Drosophila and compares that knowledge with what is known in worms and mammals. We also discuss the significance of recent work showing that a number of key cell death activators also play nonapoptotic roles. We highlight opportunities and outstanding questions along the way.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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