Paul Utz

Publication Details

  • Life and death decisions: regulation of apoptosis by proteolysis of signaling molecules CELL DEATH AND DIFFERENTIATION Utz, P. J., Anderson, P. 2000; 7 (7): 589-602


    Caspases are the major executioners of cell death, serving as molecular guillotines to behead many proteins required for maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Identification of caspase substrates has taken on increasing importance as we attempt to better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating the struggle between life and death. Many caspase substrates have been described and include RNA binding proteins such as La and U1-70 kD, structural proteins such as keratin and nuclear lamins, and transcription factors or their regulatory proteins that include IkappaB, SP1, and SREBP. Kinases and other signaling proteins are perfectly suited to regulate life and death decisions in response to cellular stressors and have only recently been identified as important caspase substrates. Here we review the current status of signaling pathways that are activated, inactivated or dysregulated by proteases such as caspases and calpain to control entry into apoptosis. The emerging concept that some caspase pathways may be inhibited by cellular and viral apoptosis inhibitory proteins while other caspase pathways are preserved suggests that a subset of these kinases may exist as cleaved 'isoforms' in cells that are not destined to perish. By acting as executioners and as important 'molecular sensors' of the degree of cellular injury, the signaling proteins described in this review are strong candidates to mediate downstream events, both in condemned and in viable cells.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000088066000002

    View details for PubMedID 10889504

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