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Trends Neurosci. 1996 Dec;19(12):555-62.

Cold thoughts of death: the role of ICE proteases in neuronal cell death.

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Dept of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 01003, USA.


While there has been extensive work describing the timing, location and probable signals responsible for regulating programmed cell death (PCD) in the nervous system, relatively little is known about the molecular mechanisms that mediate this process. Several investigators have demonstrated that PCD in general, and neuronal PCD in particular, can be inhibited by drugs that arrest RNA or protein synthesis. These data have been interpreted as suggesting that de novo gene expression is required for cells to commit suicide. The general picture emerging from a number of experimental systems is that a variety of proteins can mediate the coupling of extracellular signals to a resident cell-death program. In this model, some of the components required for death are more or less constitutively present in the cell and await lineage-specific signals for their activation. A recent flood of papers has presented convincing evidence that the resident program for apoptosis in numerous cell types works via a series of essential proteases belonging to the CED-3/ICE family.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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