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Nature. 1995 Apr 20;374(6524):733-6.

Induction of apoptosis by the Bcl-2 homologue Bak.

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Apoptosis Technology Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Cells are eliminated in a variety of physiological settings by apoptosis, a genetically encoded process of cellular suicide. Apoptosis comprises an intrinsic cellular defence against tumorigenesis, which, when suppressed, may contribute to the development of malignancies. The bcl-2 oncogene, which is activated in follicular lymphomas, functions as a potent suppressor of apoptosis under diverse conditions. Here we describe the complementary DNA cloning and functional analysis of a new Bcl-2 homologue, Bak, which promotes cell death and counteracts the protection from apoptosis provided by Bcl-2. Moreover, enforced expression of Bak induces rapid and extensive apoptosis of serum-deprived fibroblasts. This raises the possibility that Bak is directly involved in activating the cell death machinery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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