Wells LabUCSF, Depts of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
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Apoptotic Caspases

Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is critical for many facets of multicellular life, including embryonic development, immune system function, tumor formation and neurodegeneration. Much remains to be learned about the process by which caspase-mediated cellular destruction is carried out. We hypothesize that the apoptotic caspases act as “demolition experts”, targeting the right proteins at the right times in order to efficiently and safely deconstruct the cell. Thus, cataloging the set of apoptotic caspase targets, and determining the temporal sequence in which they are cleaved, will lead to a greater understanding of the key elements involved in cellular life and death. By understanding critical regulatory points in apoptosis, we may identify a number of new and important drug targets and biomarkers for cancer and other diseases.

See Jim’s favorite metaphor for apoptosis:
Link to video