Dying Cells Promote Proliferation

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Science  13 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5686, pp. 921c
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5686.921c

Huh et al. used the developing Drosophila wing to determine whether activation of the apoptotic pathway in a cell would stimulate proliferation of adjacent cells. The impetus for this experiment was the observation that even if more than half of the cells in the wing disc are lost, the surviving disc cells will proliferate and replace the missing cells, producing a normal-sized wing. In cells of the posterior wing compartment, the cell death pathway was activated by expression of the head involution defective (Hid) protein, while at the same time actual death was prevented by expression of the baculovirus p35 protein that inhibits effector caspase activity (but not activation). When Hid and p35 were both present, the number of cells in the posterior wing compartment increased, and when a dominant-negative form of the caspase Dronc was introduced along with p35 and Hid, this proliferative response was blocked. Thus, dying cells may transmit a signal through a Dronc-dependent mechanism that stimulates their neighbors to replenish the population. — NG

Curr. Biol. 14, 1262 (2004).

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