Interaction of CED-4 with CED-3 and CED-9: A Molecular Framework for Cell Death

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Science  21 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5303, pp. 1122-1126
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5303.1122

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Previous genetic studies of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans identified three important components of the cell death machinery. CED-3 and CED-4 function to kill cells, whereas CED-9 protects cells from death. Here CED-9 and its mammalian homolog Bcl-xL (a member of the Bcl-2 family of cell death regulators) were both found to interact with and inhibit the function of CED-4. In addition, analysis revealed that CED-4 can simultaneously interact with CED-3 and its mammalian counterparts interleukin-1β-converting enzyme (ICE) and FLICE. Thus, CED-4 plays a central role in the cell death pathway, biochemically linking CED-9 and the Bcl-2 family to CED-3 and the ICE family of pro-apoptotic cysteine proteases.

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