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Science 2018 Aug 10;3616402:607-612. doi: 10.1126/science.aah4065.
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Apoptosis propagates through the cytoplasm as trigger waves.

Cheng X , Ferrell JE .

Apoptosis is an evolutionarily conserved form of programmed cell death critical for development and tissue homeostasis in animals. The apoptotic control network includes several positive feedback loops that may allow apoptosis to spread through the cytoplasm in self-regenerating trigger waves. We tested this possibility in cell-free Xenopus laevis egg extracts and observed apoptotic trigger waves with speeds of ~30 micrometers per minute. Fractionation and inhibitor studies implicated multiple feedback loops in generating the waves. Apoptotic oocytes and eggs exhibited surface waves with speeds of ~30 micrometers per minute, which were tightly correlated with caspase activation. Thus, apoptosis spreads through trigger waves in both extracts and intact cells. Our findings show how apoptosis can spread over large distances within a cell and emphasize the general importance of trigger waves in cell signaling.

PubMed ID: 30093599
PMC ID: PMC6263143
Article link: Science
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: bak1 bax bcl2 bid casp3.2 casp7 casp9 cyc1 diablo xiap

References [+] :
Albeck, Modeling a snap-action, variable-delay switch controlling extrinsic cell death. 2008, Pubmed