Author(s): Adams JM, Cory S
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Abstract Activation of the caspases that initiate apoptosis typically requires cognate scaffold proteins, including CED-4 in Caenorhabditis elegans, Apaf-1 in mammals and Dark in Drosophila. Each scaffold protein oligomerizes procaspases into a complex called the apoptosome, but the regulation and biological roles of the scaffolds differ. Whereas CED-4 is restrained by the Bcl-2 homologue CED-9, Apaf-1 is inhibited by its WD40 repeat region, until it is activated by cytochrome c, derived from damaged mitochondria. Although Dark also has a WD40 region, its activation does not seem to involve cytochrome c. CED-4 is essential for apoptosis in the worm and Dark for many apoptotic responses in the fly, but the Apaf-1/caspase-9 system probably amplifies rather than initiates the mammalian caspase cascade.
This article was published in Curr Opin Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology