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Science. 1998 Aug 28;281(5381):1355-7.

Essential role of CED-4 oligomerization in CED-3 activation and apoptosis.

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1
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Abstract

Control of the activation of apoptosis is important both in development and in protection against cancer. In the classic genetic model Caenorhabditis elegans, the pro-apoptotic protein CED-4 activates the CED-3 caspase and is inhibited by the Bcl-2-like protein CED-9. Both processes are mediated by protein-protein interaction. Facilitating the proximity of CED-3 zymogen molecules was found to induce caspase activation and cell death. CED-4 protein oligomerized in cells and in vitro. This oligomerization induced CED-3 proximity and competed with CED-4:CED-9 interaction. Mutations that abolished CED-4 oligomerization inactivated its ability to activate CED-3. Thus, the mechanism of control is that CED-3 in CED-3:CED-4 complexes is activated by CED-4 oligomerization, which is inhibited by binding of CED-9 to CED-4.

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PMID:
9721101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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