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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

RNA expression bcl-w, a new related protein Bcl-2 family, and caspase-3 in isolated sertoli cells from pre-pubertal rat testes.

Apoptosis has a major role in molding the embryo, in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis, and in the defense against pathogens, while its disgregulation is strongly implicated in cancer as well as in autoimmune and degenerative diseases. The opposite action of anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2 family) and pro-apoptotic proteins (p53, Bax, Bak) regulates the activation of caspases that are the effectors proteases of the cell suicide. Bcl-W is a pro-survival protein, recently discovered, related to the Bcl-2 family. The presence of Bcl-W is fundamental for spermatogenesis in rats. Caspases are cysteine-dependent aspartate-specific proteases, and their over-expression can result in apoptotic cell death. Normally, caspases exist in cells as inactive pro-enzymes and can be activated by 2 distinct mechanisms: the FADD/caspase 8 cascade, and the Apaf-1/caspase 9 cascade. These 2 mechanisms are used extensively by cells for the activation of the effectors caspases: caspase 3, caspase 6, and/or caspase 7. Bcl-W and caspases might have a pivotal role in maintenance of Sertoli cells integrity. In this study, we demonstrate that both Bcl-W mRNA and caspase 3 mRNA are expressed in isolated Sertoli cells of pre-puberal rat testes. This finding might be crucial in clarifying whether Sertoli cells die by an apoptotic mechanism. Further studies are required to understand whether the expression of Bcl-W and caspases is different before and after puberty in rat testis and/or in pathological conditions, that lead to an increased cell apoptosis.[1]


  1. RNA expression bcl-w, a new related protein Bcl-2 family, and caspase-3 in isolated sertoli cells from pre-pubertal rat testes. Giannattasio, A., Angeletti, G., De Rosa, M., Zarrilli, S., Ambrosino, M., Cimmino, A., Coppola, C., Panza, G., Calafiore, R., Colao, A., Abete, O., Lombardi, G. J. Endocrinol. Invest. (2002) [Pubmed]
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