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Cell Death Differ. 2007 Jul;14(7):1374-85. Epub 2007 Apr 20.

Siva is an apoptosis-selective p53 target gene important for neuronal cell death.

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Division of Radiation and Cancer Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5152, USA.


p53 plays a central role in neuronal cell death resulting from acute injury or disease. To define the pathway by which p53 triggers apoptosis, we used microarray analysis to identify p53 target genes specifically upregulated during apoptosis but not cell cycle arrest. This analysis identified a small subset of targets highly selective for the p53 apoptotic response, including Siva, a proapoptotic protein whose function is not well understood. Siva's expression pattern suggests that it plays an instructive role in apoptosis, and accordingly, we demonstrate that Siva is essential for p53-dependent apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons. In addition, we determine that endogenous Siva is associated with the plasma membrane and that Caspase-8 and Bid are important for neuronal apoptosis. Our studies highlight the participation of membrane signaling events in p53's apoptotic program in primary neurons and have significant implications for understanding the mechanisms underlying pathogenesis after neuronal injury and in neurodegenerative diseases.

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