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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 May;8(5):405-13. Epub 2007 Mar 21.

The apoptosome: signalling platform of cell death.

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Program in Apoptosis and Cell Death Research, The Burnham Institute for Medical Research, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Recent work on the initial switches that trigger cell death has revealed surprising inventions of nature that ensure the ordered suicide of a cell that has been selected for demise. Particularly intriguing is how a signal--the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria--is translated into the activation of the death cascade, which leads to a point of no return. Now there is new understanding of how this crucial process is delicately handled by a cytosolic signalling platform known as the apoptosome. The formation of the apoptosome and the activation of its effector, caspase-9, reveals a sophisticated mechanism that might be more common than was initially thought.

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