If there is an apoptosis shut-off mechanism of any kind, one could call it a null-apoptosis mechanism.

If this is possible, could there be a null-apoptosis inhibitor? Something that inhibits an apoptosis inhibitor?


1 Answer 1


Apoptosis is very tightly controlled for obvious reasons. Setting it off without proper control would result in the uncontrolled loss of cells. Apoptosis is one of the major pathways which are either mutated or shut-off in cancers, preventing the body from eliminating malingnant cells. These two papers are interesting in this context:

In this context it makes no sense to have a shut-off mechanism once the apoptosis cascade has started. It is only set off when there is a real reason (and is well controlled), so I don't think there a "null-apoptosis" mechanism. It would of course still be possible to artificially make substances, that inhibit parts of the activation cascade. But besides for apoptosis research I don't see any use for it. There is actually some research going on to find out how to activate apoptosis again in cancers.

  • $\begingroup$ What about 'something' that could inhibit some pathways or mechanism that is about to shut down or turn off the apoptosis mechanisms? An Apoptosis Inhibitor Inhibitor ( if you could call it that).. $\endgroup$
    – user128932
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ There are mutations or dysregulation occuring in cancer which actively shut down apoptosis. You could of course think about designing molecules which could do the same. But to my knowledge they are not occurring naturally. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Jul 15, 2014 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ Could DNA-polymerase or something like this correct any genetic mutations or genetic 'mis-configurations' in a cell that may be causing the apoptosis mechanisms to be shut off? $\endgroup$
    – user128932
    Jul 19, 2014 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the DNA polymerase could do that, as this enzyme is only directed to promoters which are active. When apoptosis is shut of due to epigenitic silencing or mutations, that is usually not reversible by the cell. There is research being done if this can be reversed in cancer cells to promote apoptosis there and get rid of the cells. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Jul 19, 2014 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ If a cell has had its apoptosis mechanism shut down and it then reproduces or is 'forced' to reproduce would its daughter cells develop in a way where their apoptosis mechanisms malfunction? If this is so would this develop a cancerous group of cells? $\endgroup$
    – user128932
    Jul 22, 2014 at 19:27

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