In the presence of cycloheximide (CHX) to inhibit protein synthesis, a high concentration of staurosporine (STS) induces almost all cells in explant cultures of 8/8 types of newborn mouse organs and 3/3 types of adult mouse organs to die with the characteristic features of apoptosis. Eggs and blastomeres also die in this way when treated with STS and CHX, although they are less sensitive to this treatment than trophectoderm or inner cell mass cells whose sensitivity resembles that of other developing cells. Human red blood cells are exceptional in being completely resistant to treatment with STS and CHX. As (STS plus CHX)-induced cell deaths have been shown to display the characteristic features of programmed cell death (PCD), we conclude that all mammalian nucleated cells are capable of undergoing PCD and constitutively express all the proteins required to do so. It seems that the machinery for PCD is in place and ready to run, even though its activation often depends on new RNA and protein synthesis.

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