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Trends Genet. 1997 Jun;13(6):222-6.

Facing death in the fly: genetic analysis of apoptosis in Drosophila.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Apoptosis, a gene-directed form of cell death, occurs normally during development and plays a major role in many diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Molecular genetic studies in Drosophila have revealed the existence of three novel apoptotic activators, reaper, head involution defective and grim. Additionally, Drosophila homologs of evolutionarily conserved IAPs (inhibitor of apoptosis proteins) and CED-3/ICE-like proteases have been identified and characterized. Through the combined use of genetic, molecular, biochemical and cell biological techniques in Drosophila it should now be possible to elucidate the precise mechanism by which apoptosis occurs, and how the death program is activated in response to many distinct death-inducing signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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