DCP-1, a Drosophila Cell Death Protease Essential for Development

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Science  24 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5299, pp. 536-540
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5299.536

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Apoptosis, a form of cellular suicide, involves the activation of CED-3-related cysteine proteases (caspases). The regulation of caspases by apoptotic signals and the precise mechanism by which they kill the cell remain unknown. In Drosophila, different death-inducing stimuli induce the expression of the apoptotic activator reaper. Cell killing by reaper and two genetically linked apoptotic activators, hid and grim, requires caspase activity. A Drosophila caspase, named Drosophila caspase-1 (DCP-1), was identified and found to be structurally and biochemically similar to Caenorhabditis elegans CED-3. Loss of zygotic DCP-1 function in Drosophila caused larval lethality and melanotic tumors, showing that this gene is essential for normal development.

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