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Prog Cell Cycle Res. 1996;2:147-63.

Apoptosis and the cell cycle.

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Institut de Biologie Structurale J.-P. Ebel, Grenoble, France.


Apoptosis is a genetically controlled response by which eukaryotic cells undergo programmed cell death. This phenomenon plays a major role in developmental pathways (1), provides a homeostatic balance of cell populations, and is deregulated in many diseases including cancer. Control of cell number is determined by an intricate balance of cell death and cell proliferation. Accumulation of cells through suppression of death can contribute to cancer and to persistent viral infections, while excessive death can result in impaired development and in degenerative diseases. Identification of genes that control cell death, and understanding of the impact of apoptosis in both development and disease has advanced our knowledge of apoptosis in the past few years. There appears to be a linkage between apoptosis and cell cycle control mechanisms. Elucidating the mechanisms that link cell cycle control with apoptosis will be of key importance in understanding tumour progression and designing new models of effective tumour therapy.

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