Our research looks at processes upstream and downstream of the key apoptosis effector proteins Bax and Bak. These proteins can be activated by increases in BH3-only proteins, a decrease in Bcl-2-like survival proteins, or both.
We are determining how they are activated in response to treatment with steroids, and when growth factors are removed. In cells lacking genes for Bax and Bak, steroids and growth factor withdrawal do not cause cell death, but they do cause cells to arrest and to shrink. We are using these cells to determine the pathways regulating cell growth and division, as well as cell death.