How Do Living Cells Survive When Skipping A Paycheck?
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About The Author

Our research is focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of programmed cell death in disease pathogenesis. Billions of cells die per day in the human body. Like cell division and differentiation, cell death is also critical for normal development and maintenance of healthy tissues. Apoptosis and other forms of cell death are required for trimming excess, expired and damaged cells. Therefore, many genetically programmed cell suicide pathways have evolved to promote long-term survival of species from yeast to humans. Defective cell death programs cause disease states. Insufficient cell death underlies human cancer and autoimmune disease, while excessive cell death underlies human neurological disorders and aging. Of particular interest to our group are the mechanisms by which Bcl-2 family proteins and other factors regulate programmed cell death, particularly in the nervous system, in cancer and in virus infections. Interestingly, cell death regulators also regulate many other cellular processes prior to a death stimulus, including neuronal activity, mitochondrial dynamics and energetics. We study these unknown mechanisms.

                       

How Do Living Cells Survive When Skipping A Paycheck?

First, they cut expenses and then recycle hand-me-downs, but how do they know ahead of time that the money is running out? Recent research on baker’s yeast uncovered a new way cells slow their growth down when nutrients are running low. This information from an improbable source provides new insight into a family of uncharacterized human genes, some of which cause severe neurological disorders, epilepsy, and possibly autism when mutated. Bacterial, fungal, and human cells have a sense of their environment and can retool...

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