Prevention of programmed cell death of sympathetic neurons by the bcl-2 proto-oncogene

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Science  09 Oct 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5080, pp. 302-304
DOI: 10.1126/science.1411528


Approximately half of the neurons produced during embryogenesis normally die before adulthood. Although target-derived neurotrophic factors are known to be major determinants of programmed cell death--apoptosis--the molecular mechanisms by which trophic factors interfere with cell death regulation are largely unknown. Overexpression of the bcl-2 proto-oncogene in cultured sympathetic neurons has now been shown to prevent apoptosis normally induced by deprivation of nerve growth factor. This finding, together with the previous demonstration of bcl-2 expression in the nervous system, suggests that the Bcl-2 protein may be a major mediator of the effects of neurotrophic factors on neuronal survival.