Apoptosis Research

The article on apoptosis by Ricki Lewis (The Scientist, Feb. 6, 1995, page 15) contains a number of significant errors and omissions. The fact that bcl-2 specifically blocks cell death was first demonstrated in 1988 (D.L. Vaux et al., Nature, 335:440-2), and this was confirmed by others two years later (D. Hockenbery et al., Nature, 348:334-6, 1990). At that stage, the sequence of none of the C. elegans ced genes had been published, so bcl-2 was the first apoptosis regulatory gene known in any

David Vaux
Apr 16, 1995

The article on apoptosis by Ricki Lewis (The Scientist, Feb. 6, 1995, page 15) contains a number of significant errors and omissions. The fact that bcl-2 specifically blocks cell death was first demonstrated in 1988 (D.L. Vaux et al., Nature, 335:440-2), and this was confirmed by others two years later (D. Hockenbery et al., Nature, 348:334-6, 1990). At that stage, the sequence of none of the C. elegans ced genes had been published, so bcl-2 was the first apoptosis regulatory gene known in any species.

Work on apoptosis in mammalian cells and programmed cell death in C. elegans proceeded independently, until it was demonstrated in 1992 that human bcl-2 could block ced-3/ced-4 mediated cell death in C. elegans (D.L. Vaux et al., Science, 258:1955-57). This experiment showed for the first time that apoptosis in mammalian cells and programmed cell death in the...

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