Deciphering Death's Circuitry

Courtesy of Upstate Cell Signaling Solutions  CONNECT THE DOTS: Apoptosis is a highly complex cellular process with many discrete and interacting signaling pathways. Apoptosis is about as complex a cellular choreography as one can imagine. Death signals impinge, chromatin cleaves, mitochondria release cell-destroying contents, and membranes undulate and form blebs, eventually shrink-wrapping the shattered cell into neat packages destined for the innards of a phagocyte. Many research grou

Ricki Lewis
Mar 23, 2003
Courtesy of Upstate Cell Signaling Solutions
 CONNECT THE DOTS: Apoptosis is a highly complex cellular process with many discrete and interacting signaling pathways.

Apoptosis is about as complex a cellular choreography as one can imagine. Death signals impinge, chromatin cleaves, mitochondria release cell-destroying contents, and membranes undulate and form blebs, eventually shrink-wrapping the shattered cell into neat packages destined for the innards of a phagocyte. Many research groups are deciphering the cascades of proteins that orchestrate the program.

Stanley Korsmeyer, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, is one of them. In experiments spanning more than a decade, his group has clarified the roles of certain key proteins that regulate the mitochondrial arm of apoptosis. This issues' Hot Papers1,2 "represent milestones in the research on how BCL-2 family members control the process of cell death," says Luca Scorrano, an assistant scientist at the...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?