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Eat the dead

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.

  2. Nature magazine's homepage, []

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Wells, W. Eat the dead. Genome Biol 1, spotlight-20000508-03 (2000).

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  • Plasma Membrane
  • Apoptotic Cell
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Membrane Phospholipid
  • Plasma Membrane Phospholipid