PAC-1: Converting Procaspase-3 to Caspase-3

Personalized Apoptosis. ‘The death of individual cells is critical to the life of the body. It’s important during development. If some of the cells of an infant’s nascent hand don’t self-destruct, the fingers never separate. It’s important in fighting off disease because infected cells can be ordered to commit suicide. One form of cell death, apoptosis, can also go astray when cancer cells develop mutations that short circuit the intricate control cellular processes. This leaves them unresponsive to the body’s molecular signals to self-destruct. In an August 27 advance online publication of Nature Chemical Biology, researchers led by Paul J. Hergenrother of the University of Illinois reported a small molecule that activates caspase-3—a protein that occupies a very late stage in the apoptosis cascade. Various pathways can result in apoptosis, but most of them eventually lead to the activation of caspase-3.’

The Role os Caspase-3 in Apoptosis. ‘ The term apoptosis is derived from the Greek word that signifies the dropping of leaves from the trees. This term is applied to a group of characteristic structural and molecular events that separate this type of cell deletion from necrosis. In contrast to necrosis that involves a group of cells simultaneously, apoptosis may occur in a single cell surrounded by a group of viable cells.’

Animation – Apoptosis: Dance of Death. ‘Human neutrophils are constantly produced in the marrow and released into the blood to search for invading pathogens. Apoptosis AnimationAfter only one day, they “commit suicide” and are replaced by younger cells.’

Tags: Apoptosis, PAC-1, Caspase-3, Cancer

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