Open Access
Article
Parthanatos, a messenger of death
Karen Kate David1,Shaida Ahmad Andrabi1,Ted Murray Dawson1,Valina Lynn Dawson1
1
Institute for Cell Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 733 North Broadway St., Suite 711, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
DOI: 10.2741/3297 Volume 14 Issue 3, pp.1116-1128
Published: 01 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitric oxide, superoxide and peroxynitrite in cardiovascular diseases)
Abstract

Poly-ADP-ribose polymerase-1 (PARP-1)'s roles in the cell span from maintaining life to inducing death. The processes PARP-1 is involved in include DNA repair, DNA transcription, mitosis, and cell death. Of PARP-1's different cellular functions, its role in cell death is of particular interest to designing therapies for diseases. Genetic deletion of PARP-1 revealed that PARP-1 overactivation underlies cell death in models of stroke, diabetes, inflammation and neurodegeneration. Since interfering with PARP-1 mediated cell death will be clinically beneficial, great effort has been invested into understanding mechanisms downstream of PARP-1 overactivation. Recent evidence shows that poly-ADP ribose (PAR) polymer itself can act as a cell death effector downstream of PARP-1. We coined the term parthanatos after Thanatos, the personification of death in Greek mythology, to refer to PAR-mediated cell death. In this review, we will present evidence and questions raised by these recent findings, and summarize the proposed mechanisms by which PARP-1 overactivation kills. It is evident that further understanding of parthanatos opens up new avenues for therapy in ameliorating diseases related to PARP-1 overactivation.

Share and Cite
Karen Kate David, Shaida Ahmad Andrabi, Ted Murray Dawson, Valina Lynn Dawson. Parthanatos, a messenger of death. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(3); 1116-1128.