Apoptotic Cell Clearance in Development

Jeny Shklover, Flonia Levy-Adam, Estee Kurant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Programmed cell death and its specific form apoptosis play an important role during development of multicellular organisms. They are crucial for morphogenesis and organ sculpting as well as for adjusting cell number in different systems. Removal of apoptotic cells is the last critical step of apoptosis. Apoptotic cells are properly and efficiently recognized and eliminated through phagocytosis, which is performed by professional and nonprofessional phagocytes. Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells or apoptotic cell clearance is a dynamic multistep process, involving interactions between phagocytic receptors and ligands on apoptotic cells, which are highly conserved in evolution. However, this process is extremely redundant in mammals, containing multiple factors playing similar roles in the process. Using model organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, zebrafish, and mouse permits addressing fundamental questions in developmental cell clearance by a comprehensive approach including powerful genetics and cell biological tools enriched by live imaging. Recent studies in model organisms have enhanced significantly our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of apoptotic cell clearance during development. Here, we review the current knowledge and illuminate the great potential of the research performed in genetic models, which opens new directions in developmental biology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
Subtitle of host publicationApoptosis and Development, 2015
EditorsHermann Steller
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)9780124104259
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
ISSN (Print)0070-2153

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Apoptosis
  • CNS
  • Development
  • Drosophila
  • Glia
  • Phagocytosis
  • Phosphatidylserine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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