Abstract

Interleukin-1 beta converting enzyme (ICE) is a mammalian homolog of CED-3, a protein required for programmed cell death in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The activity of ICE can be specifically inhibited by the product of crmA, a cytokine response modifier gene encoded by cowpox virus. Microinjection of the crmA gene into chicken dorsal root ganglion neurons was found to prevent cell death induced by deprivation of nerve growth factor. Thus, ICE is likely to participate in neuronal death in vertebrates.

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