Friday, March 04, 2005

288: Nature - Evolutionary conservation of cell death mechanisms

DRP-1-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation during EGL-1-induced cell death in C. elegans:

Genetic analyses in Caenorhabditis elegans have been instrumental in the elucidation of the central cell-death machinery, which is conserved from C. elegans to mammals. One possible difference that has emerged is the role of mitochondria. By releasing cytochrome c, mitochondria are involved in the activation of caspases in mammals. However, there has previously been no evidence that mitochondria are involved in caspase activation in C. elegans. Here we show that mitochondria fragment in cells that normally undergo programmed cell death during C. elegans development.
My emphasis. Cells die the same way from mammals to pseudocoelomate roundworms. Evolutionary hypothesis tested and confirmed. Human development (and potential cancer cures) is better understood thanks to evolution.