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During apoptosis, phosphatidylserine, which is normally restricted to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane, is exposed on the surface of apoptotic cells and has been suggested to act as an "eat-me" signal to trigger phagocytosis. It is unclear how phagocytes recognize phosphatidylserine. Recently, a putative phosphatidylserine receptor (PSR) was(More)
Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), a mitochondrial oxidoreductase, is released into the cytoplasm to induce cell death in response to apoptotic signals. However, the mechanisms underlying this process have not been resolved. We report that inactivation of the Caenorhabditis elegans AIF homolog wah-1 by RNA interference delayed the normal progression of(More)
The dynamin family of GTPases regulate mitochondrial fission and fusion processes and have been implicated in controlling the release of caspase activators from mitochondria during apoptosis. Here we report that profusion genes fzo-1 and eat-3 or the profission gene drp-1 are not required for apoptosis activation in C. elegans. However, minor proapoptotic(More)
A common feature of all eukaryotic membranes is the non-random distribution of different lipid species in the lipid bilayer (lipid asymmetry). Lipid asymmetry provides the two sides of the plasma membrane with different biophysical properties and influences numerous cellular functions. Alteration of lipid asymmetry plays a prominent role during cell fusion,(More)
Externalization of phosphatidylserine, which is normally restricted to the inner leaflet of plasma membrane, is a hallmark of mammalian apoptosis. It is not known what activates and mediates the phosphatidylserine externalization process in apoptotic cells. Here, we report the development of an annexin V-based phosphatidylserine labelling method and show(More)
In Caenorhabditis elegans, apoptosis in germ cells is mediated by the same core apoptotic machinery that controls apoptosis in somatic cells. These include the CED-3 caspase, the CED-3 activator CED-4, and the cell death inhibitor CED-9. However, germline apoptosis also differs from somatic apoptosis in its regulation. We found that CSP-3, a caspase homolog(More)
Mitochondria play an important role in the integration and transmission of cell death signals, activating caspases and other cell death execution events by releasing apoptogenic proteins from the intermembrane space. The BCL-2 family of proteins localize (or can be targeted) to mitochondria and regulate the permeability of the mitochondrial outer membrane(More)
Programmed cell death is an integral component of C. elegans development. Genetic studies in C. elegans have led to the identification of more than two dozen genes that are important for the specification of which cells should live or die, the activation of the suicide program, and the dismantling and removal of dying cells. Molecular and biochemical(More)
During apoptosis, dying cells are swiftly removed by phagocytes. It is not fully understood how apoptotic cells are recognized by phagocytes. Here we report the identification and characterization of the Caenorhabditis elegans ttr-52 gene, which encodes a transthyretin-like protein and is required for efficient cell corpse engulfment. The TTR-52 protein is(More)
Interplay among four genes--egl-1, ced-9, ced-4 and ced-3--controls the onset of programmed cell death in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Activation of the cell-killing protease CED-3 requires CED-4. However, CED-4 is constitutively inhibited by CED-9 until its release by EGL-1. Here we report the crystal structure of the CED-4-CED-9 complex at 2.6 A(More)