Clearing the dead: Apoptotic cell sensing, recognition, engulfment, and digestion

Amelia Hochreiter-Hufford, Kodi S. Ravichandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

345 Scopus citations


Clearance of apoptotic cells is the final stage of programmed cell death. Uncleared corpses can become secondarily necrotic, promoting inflammation and autoimmunity. Remarkably, even in tissues with high cellular turnover, apoptotic cells are rarely seen because of efficient clearance mechanisms in healthy individuals. Recently, significant progress has been made in understanding the steps involved in prompt cell clearance in vivo. These include the sensing of corpses via "find me" signals, the recognition of corpses via "eat me" signals and their cognate receptors, the signaling pathways that regulate cytoskeletal rearrangement necessary for engulfment, and the responses of the phagocyte that keep cell clearance events "immunologically silent." This study focuses on our understanding of these steps.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Clearing the dead: Apoptotic cell sensing, recognition, engulfment, and digestion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this