October 31, 2016 – Cell Death


Anchor lead: A Greek name describes a form of cell death that may be important in a variety of diseases, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Parthanatos is the name given to a pathway leading to cellular death more completely understood due to recent work of Ted Dawson and colleagues at Johns Hopkins and published in Science. Dawson says they’ve found the final ‘executioner,’ a protein that carves up a cell’s DNA, resulting in death.

Dawson: For a number of years many investigators have been studying how cells die in response to parthanatos. It’s involved in Parkinson’s disease, stroke, diabetes, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, you name a disease, there’s probably pretty good evidence that parthanatos is involved.  So we now have a new target where we can develop drugs which should be protective.    :30

Dawson says parthanatos joins apoptosis as perhaps the most important pathways by which cells die, but says many others exist that aren’t yet as well understood.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.