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Apoptosis, also referred to as programmed cell death, is a regulated form of cell death that involves distinct biochemical and morphological changes1. Apoptosis can be triggered by both internal and external factors. Internal factors include misfolded proteins and deregulated signaling, while nutrient loss, radiation, heat, and activation of cell surface receptors, such as TNF and FAS3, are external triggers.
Canonically, apoptosis is initiated by the interaction of pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic members of the BCL-2 family, including BAD and BCL-21. This leads to the activation of caspase proteins3, a family of proteolytic enzymes, which activate other proteins that dismantle the cytoskeleton, organelles, and degrade DNA. This controlled process allows adjacent tissue to suffer minimal damage2.
3. Cavalcante GC, Schaan AP, Cabral GF, Santana-da-Silva MN, Pinto P, Vidal AF, Ribeiro-Dos-Santos Â. A Cell's Fate: An Overview of the Molecular Biology and Genetics of Apoptosis. Int J Mol Sci. 20(17):4133. (2019)