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St. Jude Researchers Find Key Step in Programmed Cell Death
Date:2/29/2008

rA2 to allow the precise snipping that is required. Without Hax1, the snipping does not occur and HtrA2 remains inert.

In lymphocytes, members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins both protect and initiate apoptosis. For this reason, Ihle and the researchers explored this family of proteins to understand why lymphocytes needed an active HtrA2 mitochondrial enzyme. This led them to discover that if active HtrA2 were present, the incorporation of a protein called Bax into the mitochondrial outer membrane did not occur. This was significant since accumulation of Bax in the outer mitochondrial membrane allows the release of proteins that set off a chain of biochemical reactions, including the activation of enzymes that are responsible for cell death.

Other authors of this study include Jyh-Rong Chao, Kelli Boyd, Evan Parganas, Cheol Yi Hong and Joseph T. Opferman (all St. Jude).

This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit http://www.stjude.org.


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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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