Till Death Us Do Part

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Science  07 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5536, pp. 1784-1785
DOI: 10.1126/science.11546862

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Epithelial cells need to remain firmly attached to each other and to the extracellular matrix. In the event that these cells become detached, they undergo apoptosis. In a Perspective, Hunt and Evan discuss new work that identifies the trigger that sets in motion the apoptosis program following detachment ( Puthalakath et al.). The trigger turns out to be the pro-apoptotic protein Bmf. This protein is attached to the myosin V motor complex of the actin cytoskeleton under normal conditions, but is set free once cells become detached.