Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death (PCD) that plays critical physiological roles in removing superfluous or dangerous cell populations that are unneeded or threatening to the health of the host organism. Although the molecular pathways leading to activation of the apoptotic program have been extensively studied and characterized starting in the 1970s, new evidence suggests that members of the gasdermin superfamily are novel pore-forming proteins that augment apoptosis by permeabilizing the mitochondria and participate in the final stages of the apoptotic program by inducing secondary necrosis/pyroptosis. These findings may explain outstanding questions in the field such as why certain gasdermin members sensitize cells to apoptosis, and why some apoptotic cells also show morphological features of necrosis. Furthermore, the interplay between the gasdermins and apoptosis may also explain why genetic and epigenetic alterations in these genes cause diseases and disorders like cancer and hearing loss. This review focuses on our current understanding of the function of several gasdermin superfamily members, their role in apoptosis, and how they may contribute to pathophysiological conditions.
Recommended CitationRogers, Corey and Alnemri, Emad S., "Gasdermins in Apoptosis: New players in an Old Game." (2019). Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 164.
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