Apoptosis Signaling Pathways

Richard M. Siegel1, Michael J. Lenardo1

1 National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Immunology
Unit Number:  Unit 11.9C
DOI:  10.1002/0471142735.im1109cs44
Online Posting Date:  November, 2002
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In the past few years much has been learned about the molecular signals governing apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system. Two major pathways, active and passive apoptosis, have been identified and are discussed in this overview. Active apoptosis, also termed propriocidal cell death or antigen‐induced cell death, occurs when cells are stimulated through a family of TNF‐related receptors termed death receptors. These receptors are up‐regulated in activated lymphocytes and trigger apoptosis chiefly in effector cells that have been recently stimulated through the antigen receptor. Passive or lymphokine withdrawal apoptosis occurs when activated lymphocytes are deprived of essential growth cytokines and does not require death receptors. Cell death initiated by either pathway is carried out by a unique family of intracellular cysteine proteases, the caspases. Defects in each of these pathways produce distinct pathologies.

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Table of Contents

  • Active Apoptosis
  • Passive Apoptosis
  • Figures
  • Tables
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