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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1783(11):2185-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Role of nuclear bodies in apoptosis signalling.

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Cellular Senescence Group, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, Im Neuenheimer Feld 242, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML NBs) are dynamic macromolecular multiprotein complexes that recruit and release a plethora of proteins. A considerable number of PML NB components play vital roles in apoptosis, senescence regulation and tumour suppression. The molecular basis by which PML NBs control these cellular responses is still just beginning to be understood. In addition to PML itself, numerous further tumour suppressors including transcriptional regulator p53, acetyl transferase CBP (CREB binding protein) and protein kinase HIPK2 (homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2) are recruited to PML NBs in response to genotoxic stress or oncogenic transformation and drive the senescence and apoptosis response by regulating p53 activity. Moreover, in response to death-receptor activation, PML NBs may act as nuclear depots that release apoptotic factors, such as the FLASH (FLICE-associated huge) protein, to amplify the death signal. PML NBs are also associated with other nuclear domains including Cajal bodies and nucleoli and share apoptotic regulators with these domains, implying crosstalk between NBs in apoptosis regulation. In conclusion, PML NBs appear to regulate cell death decisions through different, pathway-specific molecular mechanisms.

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