Apoptosis — Searching for the Central Executioner

  • E. Daugas
  • G. Kroemer
Conference paper
Part of the Ernst Schering Research Foundation Workshop book series (SCHERING FOUND, volume 6)


Apoptosis may be defined as a regulated lethal process in which the cell activates catabolic processes which, within the limits of a near-to-intact plasma membrane, lead to a stereotyped ensemble of biochemical and morphological alterations. Such alterations include a reduction in cell size, a condensation of chromatin, and changes in the physicochemistry of the plasma membrane facilitating the recognition and heterophagic removal of the apoptotic cell by adjacent normal cells. The most striking morphological change in apoptotic cells concerns the nucleus which invariably exhibits chromatin condensation, mostly associated with enzymatic degradation of nuclear DNA. However, chromatin condensation is a sign of apoptosis rather than a mechanism leading to cell death, since non-nuclear apoptosis-associated alterations can be induced in anucleate cells (cytoplasts), as this has been shown in 1994 (Jacobson et al. 1994, Schulze-Osthoff et al. 1994).


Death Domain Extrinsic Pathway Betulinic Acid Central Executioner Mitochondrial Membrane Permeabilization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



bongkrekic acid


cyclosporin A


mitochondrial transmenbrane potential


permeability transition pore complex


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Daugas
  • G. Kroemer

There are no affiliations available

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