Do not let death do us part: 'Find-me' signals in communication between dying cells and the phagocytes

C. B. Medina, K. S. Ravichandran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The turnover and clearance of cells is an essential process that is part of many physiological and pathological processes. Improper or deficient clearance of apoptotic cells can lead to excessive inflammation and autoimmune disease. The steps involved in cell clearance include: migration of the phagocyte toward the proximity of the dying cells, specific recognition and internalization of the dying cell, and degradation of the corpse. The ability of phagocytes to recognize and react to dying cells to perform efficient and immunologically silent engulfment has been well-characterized in vitro and in vivo. However, how apoptotic cells themselves initiate the corpse removal and also influence the cells within the neighboring environment during clearance was less understood. Recent exciting observations suggest that apoptotic cells can attract phagocytes through the regulated release of 'find-me' signals. More recent studies also suggest that these find-me signals can have additional roles outside of phagocyte attraction to help orchestrate engulfment. This review will discuss our current understanding of the different find-me signals released by apoptotic cells, how they may be relevant in vivo, and their additional roles in facilitating engulfment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-989
Number of pages11
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


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