The Role of FasL and Fas in Health and Disease

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Abstract

The FS7-associated cell surface antigen (Fas, also named CD95, APO-1 or TNFRSF6) attracted considerable interest in the field of apoptosis research since its discovery in 1989. The groups of Shin Yonehara and Peter Krammer were the first reporting extensive apoptotic cell death induction upon treating cells with Fas-specific monoclonal antibodies.1,2 Cloning of Fas3 and its ligand,4,5 FasL (also known as CD178, CD95L or TNFSF6), laid the cornerstone in establishing this receptor-ligand system as a central regulator of apoptosis in mammals. Therapeutic exploitation of FasL-Fas-mediated cytotoxicity was soon an ambitous goal and during the last decade numerous strategies have been developed for its realization. In this chapter, we will briefly introduce essential general aspects of the FasL-Fas system before reviewing its physiological and pathophysiological relevance. Finally, FasL-Fas-related therapeutic tools and concepts will be addressed.