Learning Apoptosis with Mnemonics

Caspases (Pro-apoptotics)

Initiator caspases:

  1. Intrinsic – 9 (IN for nINe); also 2 (Roman numeral II – I for Intrinsic)
  2. Extrinsic – 8 (E for Eight); also 10 (Roman numeral X – X for eXtrinsic)

Executioner caspases: 3 and 7

  • Executioner is synonymous to hangman.
  • Remember the gallow – it resembles “7“.
  • Executioner starts with “E” – reverse of E is 3 (most important).

Pro-apoptotic genes

Mnemonic: “B” followed by a vowel

  1. BAX
  2. BAD
  3. BAK
  4. BIM
  5. BID
  6. BIK
  7. BOK

Exception: BCL-XS is pro-apoptotic.

Others: CDEFgH

  1. Cytochrome C
  2. Diablo/Smac (Inhibits inhibitor of apoptosis)
  3. Endonuclease G
  4. Fas
  5. HtrA2

Proapoptotic and Antiapoptotic

Anti-apoptotic genes

Mnemonic: Contains “L” or “XL”

  1. BCL-2
  2. BCL-XL
  3. MCL-1
  4. BCL-W
  5. MCL-1

Other: Inhibitor of Apoptosis (XIAP)

How all these genes and molecules work together to complete apoptosis? Find it here.

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