Controlling Cell Death

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Science  21 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5303, pp. 1081-1082
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5303.1081

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Cells can die in two ways: in a disorderly, destructive process called necrosis or by programmed cell death (or apoptosis), an orderly series of biochemical events that neatly eliminate the cell. Four reports in this week's issue by Chinnaiyan (1122), Wu (1126), Yang (p. 1129), and Kluck (p. 1132) elucidate two critical steps in the biochemical cascade of programmed cell death. In his Perspective, Golstein describes how these demonstrations—that the Caenorhabditis elegans protein CED-4 directly contacts CED-3 and CED-9 and that Bcl-2 causes release of cytochrome c from mitochondria—advance our understanding of programmed cell death.