Investigating programmed cell death
Wei-ping Yang Danny Hoang Douglas McKenzie Peter
The apoptotic response is a complex biological process that requires the regulation of a variety of genes that interact with and respond to intracellular and extracellular stimuli. Stratagene is introducing RT-PCR primer sets that are specific for genes involved in inducing and regulating the apoptotic response. These primers are specific for genes encoding proteins from the Fas and Fas ligand, Bcl-2 and ICE protein families. The new RT-PCR primer sets will find application for diverse disciplines, including developmental biology, immunology, and tumor biology.
Apoptosis, the gene-directed process of programmed cell death, plays a central role during development and homeostasis in most organisms. The activation of apoptosis is associated with many diseases, such as cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and neurodegenerative disorders. The basic machinery to carry out apoptosis appears to be present in essentially all mammalian cells at all times, but the activation of apoptosis is regulated by many different signals that originate from both the intracellular and the extracellular milieu. Components in these signaling pathways are varied, and many agents have been characterized either as inducers or inhibitors of the apoptotic response. During the last few years, the cell death pathway has been extensively studied, and three protein families have been identified according to their functions in apoptosis. These proteins are Fas and Fas ligands, Bcl-2 (and analogs), and the ICE families.
The activation of death receptors, such as the Fas ligand, may induce the
apoptosis pathway. The Fas antigen, which is located on the cell surface of most
mammalian cells, was discovered in 1989.1,2 By virtue of its