Viruses and apoptosis

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Virus infection and replication are often associated with apoptosis and this effect is likely to be responsible for much of the pathology associated with infectious disease. Many viruses encode proteins which can inhibit apoptosis thereby either prolonging the survival of infected cells such that the production of progeny virus is maximised or facilitating the establishment of virus persistence. These viral proteins target the cellular pathways responsible for regulating apoptosis and have been instrumental in furthering our understanding of the apoptotic process. Many of the viruses associated with oncogenic transformation have adopted strategies for blocking apoptosis highlighting the centrality of this effect in carcinogenesis. Understanding the mechanisms by which viruses regulate apoptosis may lead to the development of novel therapies for both infectious disease and cancer.

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