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Receptors of diverse primary structure and with diverse ligands have been reported to be capable of stimulating apoptosis in the absence of ligand binding. These receptors are called dependence receptors, and the newest member of this family appears to be the Sonic hedgehog receptor Patched, which has been reported to stimulate apoptosis when expressed in the absence of its ligand. The signaling mechanisms that account for this type of receptor activity are unknown. Several theories behind how dependence receptors may trigger cell death are described.