Science Webinar Series

Webinar | Deciphering cancer: Investigating cell death mechanisms

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Science  10 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6364, pp. 819
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6364.819-b


Cell death, including autophagy, necroptosis, and apoptosis, is a physiological process critical for normal development and function of multicellular organisms. Many of the signals that elicit cell death converge on mitochondria, which regulate cell death by a pivotal process called mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP). In apoptosis, MOMP is tightly regulated by the Bcl-2 family of proteins, composed of both proapoptotic (Bax, Bak, Bid, Bim) and antiapoptotic (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bcl-W) members, which act in part by governing mitochondrial death signaling through cytochrome C release and subsequent activation of caspases. Irrespective of caspase activity, MOMP can lead to cell death by causing a progressive decline in mitochondrial function. Under certain circumstances, however, a cell can survive cell death; its survival may have pathophysiological consequences leading to cancer, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and resistance to cancer therapies. This webinar will examine how identification of dysregulated cell-death mechanisms underpinning various pathologies can be exploited to develop novel treatments for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases that directly activate the cell-death machinery.