FADD: Essential for Embryo Development and Signaling from Some, But Not All, Inducers of Apoptosis

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FADD (also known as Mort-1) is a signal transducer downstream of cell death receptor CD95 (also called Fas). CD95, tumor necrosis factor receptor type 1 (TNFR-1), and death receptor 3 (DR3) did not induce apoptosis in FADD-deficient embryonic fibroblasts, whereas DR4, oncogenes E1A and c-myc, and chemotherapeutic agent adriamycin did. Mice with a deletion in the FADD gene did not survive beyond day 11.5 of embryogenesis; these mice showed signs of cardiac failure and abdominal hemorrhage. Chimeric embryos showing a high contribution of FADD null mutant cells to the heart reproduce the phenotype of FADD-deficient mutants. Thus, not only death receptors, but also receptors that couple to developmental programs, may use FADD for signaling.

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