Death by Crowd Control

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Science  28 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5381, pp. 1298-1299
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5381.1298

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Cells often die by way of a controlled suicide called apoptosis. The proteins most responsible for the deed are caspases, specific proteases that are carefully regulated in the cell so that they only become activated when absolutely necessary. In his Perspective, Hengartner discusss results reported by Yang et al. in the same issue on how some of the central caspases responsible for cell death, such as CED-3, are activated by oligomerization, a process that is regulated by the anti-death protein CED-9, a member of the large Bcl-2 family.