The DAP3 gene encodes a 46 kDa protein located in the lower area of the small mitoribosomal subunit. This protein contains a P-loop motif that binds GTP and a highly conserved 17-residue targeting sequence responsible for its localization to the mitochondria. Of interest, many of the phosphorylation sites on this protein are highly conserved and clustered around GTP-binding motifs.
Several splice variants were observed in human ESTs that differ largely in the 5’ UTR region. Pseudogenes for this gene are also found in chromosomes 1 and 2.
As aforementioned, death associated protein 3 (DAP3) has regulatory roles in cell respiration and apoptosis. Both opposites and cell respiration are important elements of cell death pathways and have underlying mechanistic roles in ischemia-reperfusion injury.
During a normal embryologic processes, or during cell injury (such as ischemia-reperfusion injury during heart attacks and strokes) or during developments and processes in cancer, an apoptotic cell undergoes structural changes including cell shrinkage, plasma membrane blebbing, nuclear condensation, and fragmentation of the DNA and nucleus. This is followed by fragmentation into apoptotic bodies that are quickly removed by phagocytes, thereby preventing an inflammatory response. It is a mode of cell death defined by characteristic morphological, biochemical and molecular changes. It was first described as a "shrinkage necrosis", and then this term was replaced by apoptosis to emphasize its role opposite mitosis in tissue kinetics. In later stages of apoptosis the entire cell becomes fragmented, forming a number of plasma membrane-bounded apoptotic bodies which contain nuclear and or cytoplasmic elements. The ultrastructural appearance of necrosis is quite different, the main features being mitochondrial swelling, plasma membrane breakdown and cellular disintegration. Apoptosis occurs in many physiological and pathological processes. It plays an important role during embryonal development as programmed cell death and accompanies a variety of normal involutional processes in which it serves as a mechanism to remove "unwanted" cells.
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