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Title: Apoptosome Formation & Caspase-3 Activation


Tools: Maya, VMD, Photoshop, Illustrator

Target Audience: Undergraduate biology students

Background: There are many extra- and intracellular signals that leads to programmed cell death, known as apoptosis. These sets of illustrations highlight the pathway that follows the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. After mitochondria release cytochrome c, it binds to apaf-1 monomer, activating it. Seven activated apaf-1 would form the apoptosome. Caspase-9 binds to the apoptosome and become activated; it would then activate caspase-3, which would cleave other cellular proteins and leads to death of the cell. There are many structural data that became available in the past few years, and our understanding of apoptosome assembly has improved. 


Sketches for steps of apoptosome formation

Title sequence and 2D animatics with re-used footage of apoptosis from a previous animation project, will be making a new one later.



Reubold TF, Wohlgemuth S, Eschenburg S. Crystal structure of full-length apaf-1: How the death signal is relayed in the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Structure. 2011;19(8):1074-1083.


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