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Apoptosis specific proteins (ASP) are expressed in the cytoplasm of cultured mammalian cells of various lineages following induction of apoptosis. The cDNA encoding ASP has been cloned from a human expression library and has significant homology to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae APG5 gene which is essential for yeast autophagy. The ASP gene, known as hAPG5, can be transcribed to give mRNAs of 3.3 kbp, 2.5 kbp and 1.8 kbp which are present at comparable levels in viable and apoptotic cells, demonstrating that protein expression must be regulated at the translational level. These data indicate a possible relationship between apoptosis and autophagy and suggest evolutionary conservation in mammalian apoptosis of a degradative process present in yeast.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





391 - 395


Animals, Apoptosis, Autophagy, Autophagy-Related Protein 5, Base Sequence, COS Cells, Cloning, Molecular, Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors, Cytoskeletal Proteins, Fungal Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, RNA, Messenger, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Transfection, Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases