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Open Access

Eat the dead

  • William Wells
Genome Biology20001:spotlight-20000508-03

Published: 08 May 2000


Plasma MembraneApoptotic CellPhosphatidylserineMembrane PhospholipidPlasma Membrane Phospholipid

Apoptosis eliminates the asymmetry of plasma membrane phospholipids and exposes phosphatidylserine on the outside of cells. Fadok et al. report in the May 4 Nature that they have found a phagocyte protein that recognizes the phosphatidylserine (Nature 2000, 405:85-90). Addition of the receptor to lymphocytes allows the cells to engulf apoptotic cells. Engagement of the receptor on macrophages induces the production of anti-inflammatory TGF-b consistent with the absence of inflammation during apoptosis.


  1. Exposure of phosphatidylserine on the surface of apoptotic lymphocytes triggers specific recognition and removal by macrophages.Google Scholar
  2. Nature magazine's homepage, []


© BioMed Central Ltd 2000