Ning Yang, Ing Swie Goping
ISBN: 9781615045389 | PDF ISBN: 9781615045396
Copyright © 2013 | 101 Pages | Publication Date: 04/01/2013

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Multi-cellular organisms eliminate individual cells through a self-destruct process known as apoptosis. Apoptosis is critical for proper development and maintenance of tissue homeostasis. The importance of this process is highlighted by the fact that too much or too little apoptosis is the underlying cause of pathologies such as cancer, autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus, arthritis), and neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., Parkinson's, Alzheimer's). In the early days, apoptotic cells were identified strictly by cell morphology. Now we know that biochemical signatures define a number of death programs, of which apoptosis is the most widely understood. In this review, we discuss genetic insights gained from C. elegans, the importance of caspases, engulfment of apoptotic cells, apoptotic signals, the role of mitochondria, the Bcl-2 family, and the link between dysfunctional apoptosis and disease. Within each topic, we highlight landmark studies that contributed to our current understanding of apoptosis. All together, this research exemplifies tremendous scientific synergy between the disciplines of genetics, biochemistry, developmental cell biology, and structural biology. Continued exploration into mechanisms that regulate apoptosis will undoubtedly lead to insights into disease processes with potential therapeutic strategies.

Table of Contents

Historical Perspective of Apoptosis
C. elegans and Discovery of the Caspases
Engulfment of Apoptotic Cells:

About the Author(s)

Ning Yang, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta
Ning Yang received her Master's degree in cell biology from Beijing Normal University (Beijing, China) in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, she studied autophagy using the C. elegans model in the National Institute of Biological Sciences (Beijing, China) and focused on anticancer drug screens in BioDuro Company (Beijing, China). Currently, Ning is enrolled in the PhD program in Dr. Goping's laboratory at the University of Alberta.

Ing Swie Goping, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta
Ing Swie Goping, PhD, is an Associate Professor of biochemistry and oncology at the University of Alberta. She received her BSc degree in biology from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, in 1986, her MSc degree in genetics from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, in 1990, and her PhD degree in biochemistry from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, in 1995. It was in Dr. Gordon Shore's laboratory at McGill University that she became interested in apoptosis and identified that stress stimulus induced Bax targeting to mitochondria. Dr. Goping went on to study cytotoxic T cell-mediated cell death as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Chris Bleackley and elucidated key steps for granzyme B-induced apoptosis. Dr. Goping joined the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta where her group investigates the interplay between apoptosis and cancer cell survival.

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