Lipoxygenases and their involvement in programmed cell death (Review)

M Maccarrone, G Melino and A Finazzi-Agro


Cell Death and Differentiation (2001) 8, 776 - 784


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Lipoxygenases are a family of enzymes which dioxygenate unsaturated fatty acids, thus initiating lipoperoxidation of membranes and the synthesis of signaling molecules. Consequently, they induce structural and metabolic changes in the cell in a number of pathophysiological conditions. Recently, a pro-apoptotic effect of lipoxygenase, and of the hydroperoxides produced thereof, has been reported in different cellsandtissues, leadingtocelldeath.Anti-apoptotic effects of lipoxygenases have also been reported; however, thishasoftenbeenbasedontheuseofenzymeinhibitors.Here we review the characteristics of the lipoxygenase family and its involvement in the initiation of oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Finally, we discuss the role of lipoxygenase activation in apoptosis of animal and plant cells, suggesting a common signal transduction pathway in cell death conserved through evolution of both kingdoms.


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