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12:00 AM
 | 
Sep 13, 2004
 |  BioCentury  |  Tools & Techniques

Engineering apoptosis

Cell death plays a role in many human diseases, and protein-protein interactions are the vessel through which most cellular signaling is transduced. Two groups of academic researchers now have addressed both issues, developing compounds that promote cell death by regulating protein-protein interactions.

The Bcl-2 family of proteins is composed of both pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins and as such has long been of therapeutic interest. All Bcl-2 family proteins contain BH domains, which are composed of multiple alpha-helical segments. These domains are required for regulating the activity of Bcl-2 proteins, and thus theoretically could be used to selectively interfere with Bcl-2 family members or stabilize interactions between different family members.

As reported two weeks ago in Science, one of the papers focused on the BH3 domain. "The BH3 sequence is a critical death domain that is involved...

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