Triggering Death Through DNA

Science's STKE  26 Nov 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 160, pp. tw448-TW448
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.160.tw448

A cell can commit suicide by initiating a death program that ultimately results in fragmentation of its DNA. A proapoptotic factor called apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) is released from mitochondria into the cytosol and nucleus in response to certain stimuli, but it has been unclear how this evolutionarily conserved protein actually functions. Wang et al. have determined that, in Caenorhabditis elegans, released AIF associates with an endonuclease called EndoG that is also released from the mitochondria. Together, the complex promotes DNA degradation and cell killing and defines a conserved DNA degradation pathway initiated from the mitochondria.

X. Wang, C. Yang, J. Chai, Y. Shi, D. Xue, Mechanisms of AIF-mediated apoptotic DNA degradation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Science 298, 1587-1592 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]