Unconventional Ways to Live and Die: Cell Death and Survival in Development, Homeostasis, and Disease

Swapna A. Gudipaty, Christopher M. Conner, Jody Rosenblatt, Denise J. Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Balancing cell death and survival is essential for normal development and homeostasis and for preventing diseases, especially cancer. Conventional cell death pathways include apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death controlled by a well-defined biochemical pathway, and necrosis, the lysis of acutely injured cells. New types of regulated cell death include necroptosis, pyroptosis, ferroptosis, phagoptosis, and entosis. Autophagy can promote survival or can cause death. Newly described processes of anastasis and resuscitation show that, remarkably, cells can recover from the brink of apoptosis or necroptosis. Important new work shows that epithelia achieve homeostasis by extruding excess cells, which then die by anoikis due to loss of survival signals. This mechanically regulated process both maintains barrier function as cells die and matches rates of proliferation and death. In this review, we describe these unconventional ways in which cells have evolved to die or survive, as well as the contributions that these processes make to homeostasis and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-332
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
Issue number1
Early online date8 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2018


  • Anoikis/genetics
  • Apoptosis/genetics
  • Autophagy/genetics
  • Cell Proliferation/genetics
  • Entosis/genetics
  • Homeostasis/genetics
  • Humans
  • Necrosis/genetics
  • Neoplasms/genetics
  • Pyroptosis/genetics
  • Signal Transduction/genetics


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