Reaper genes essential for cell death
In what may be the cellular equivalent of watching the Grim Reaper in action, University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have shown that two "death activator" genes are essential for cell death when Drosophila (fruit flies) metamorphose from larvae to adults. Death of obsolete larval tissue is critical in insect metamorphosis.
The two genes--reaper (rpr) and hid (head involution defective)--act by overcoming the protective efforts of a death inhibitor, DIAP1. Once DIAP1 is disabled, the inexorable begins and larval tissues like the salivary glands are rapidly destroyed, according to Carl S. Thummel, Ph.D., professor of human genetics at the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, and doctoral student Viravuth P. Yin. The two will publish their findings in the May 25 print edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article will appear online the week of May 17.
Cindy Fazzi | EurekAlert!
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