Regulation of apoptosis-induced compensatory cell proliferation and its implications for cancer and tissue regeneration
In multi-cellular organisms, coordinated cell death (e.g. apoptosis) and cell replacement is critical for tissue recovery in response to stress or damage. Although there is not much known about this process at the cellular and molecular level, recent studies including ours have discovered that apoptotic cells can actively induce compensatory proliferation of surrounding cells through a non-apoptotic function of caspases, a family of cysteine-proteases that normally execute apoptosis. This research aims to dissect the molecular anatomy of compensatory cell proliferation following activation of apoptosis. By taking advantages of Drosophila as a model organism, multiple assays have been developed to systematically identify regulators of compensatory cell proliferation. Because apoptosis-induced compensatory proliferation has been observed in tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis in multiple organisms including mammals, identification of its underlying regulatory mechanisms in Drosophila will significantly impact our understanding of its physiological role in tissue repair as well as its pathological role in multiple human diseases including cancer.
State-of-the-art technologies in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Microscopy Imaging and Drosophila Genetics are employed in this research.
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The School of Biosciences offers a number of UK Research Council (e.g. BBSRC, NERC) PhD studentships each year. Fully funded research council studentships are normally only available to UK nationals (or EU nationals resident in the UK) but part-funded studentships may be available to EU applicants resident outside of the UK. The deadline for applications for research council studentships is typically at the end of January each year.
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1) Fan Y.* and Bergmann A.* (2014) Multiple mechanisms modulate distinct cellular susceptibilities towards apoptosis in the developing Drosophila eye. Dev Cell 30(1):48-60. (*corresponding authors)
2) Fan Y.*, Wang S., Hernandez J., Yenigun V.B., Hertlein G., Fogarty C.E., Lindblad J.L. and Bergmann A.* (2014) A model for identification of genes involved in apoptosis-induced proliferation in Drosophila. PLoS Genetics 10(1): e1004131. (*corresponding authors)
3) Fan, Y., and Bergmann, A. (2008) Distinct mechanisms of apoptosis-induced compensatory proliferation in proliferating and differentiating tissues in the Drosophila eye. Dev Cell 14, 399-410.
4) Fan, Y., and Bergmann, A. (2008) Apoptosis-induced compensatory proliferation. The Cell is dead. Long live the Cell! Trends Cell Biol 18, 467-473.
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