Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is an adaptive form of cell death that plays a critical role in turnover of mitotic cells and various tissues in the adult, including epithelial cells, fibroblasts and various endocrine cells. Programmed cell death also plays a major role in development in organizing the body plan and molding intricate cellular structures such as nerve cell circuits in the brain. Rapidly progressing research into the molecular and biochemical underpinnings of the programmed cell death process are revealing novel genetic programs and molecular interactions that coordinate a process that results in death and removal of cells without an immune response and in the absence of the adverse effects on neighboring cells.
Programmed Cell Death, Volume I, critically details the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms of apoptosis. This volume covers programmed cell death in a variety of tissues and organ systems highlighting the interesting families of proteins involved in promoting or preventing apoptosis. These include the caspase and calpain families of proteases, Bcl-2 family members, and inhibitors of apoptosis proteins. Each chapter is written by an internationally recognized expert in a particular aspect of programmed cell death.
This book will provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the cascade of events leading from an apoptotic signal, such as trophic factor withdrawal or increased oxidative stress, to cell death. Importantly, this volume also covers signaling mechanisms designed to prevent apoptosis. Such anti-apoptotic signaling cascades involve neurotrophic factors and stress response pathways. Programmed Cell Death, Volume I, provides the molecular and cellular foundation for Programmed Cell Death, Volume II in which the roles of aberrant regulation of apoptosis in human diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's disease are considered.