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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29750

Title: Analysis of Mitochondrial Signaling in the Regulation of Programmed Cell Death
Authors: Hui, Kelvin Kai-Wan
Advisor: Henderson, Jeffrey T.
Department: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Keywords: programmed cell death
acute neural injury
inhibitor of apoptosis proteins
genetic modification
immunophilin ligands
gamma motor neurons
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: The involvement of mitochondrial signaling in mammalian PCD regulation has been examined extensively via biochemical analyses and cellular studies in vitro. However there still exist considerable gaps in our knowledge regarding its contribution in specific tissues and cell types during mammalian development in vivo. In addition, given the numerous pathologic conditions associated with aberrant PCD, modulation of this signaling process represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. In this thesis I have therefore examined the regulation of mitochondrion-mediated PCD signaling as it pertains to several forms of developmental and injury-induced cell death. In the first component of the thesis I have examined the differential sensitivity of Bcl2 on the survival of motor neuron populations from two distinct developmental origins (alpha and gamma motor neurons), demonstrating that gamma motor neurons are preferentially affected in Bcl2 null mice. Thus, Bcl-2 plays a critical in vivo in regulating subtype-specific motor neuron survival during development. In the second study I have demonstrated that a major portion of the neuroprotective effect exerted by the immunophilins cyclosporin A and FK-506 are mediated through calcineurin signaling; rather than MOMP-mediated events as previously held. Additional findings of this study demonstrated the first neuroprotective effects of the pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin and calcineurin-mediated control of Bad phosphorylation. Such findings establish a link between calcineurin signaling and mitochondrion-mediated cell survival. The above studies established critical features of mitochondrion-mediated PCD in regulating survival of several neuronal subpopulations. I therefore followed these studies with an examination of how post-mitochondrial PCD signaling is regulated following MOMP permeabilization. Specifically I examined regulation of the Smac-IAP-caspase axis, investigating how combinatorial deletion of Casp3 and Diablo alter PCD progression in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Using a series of injury stimuli in the context of biochemical and cellular analyses I have developed a model of how endogenous Smac/DIABLO regulates executioner caspase activity. Collectively these studies elucidate key aspects of mitochondrial signaling during both developmental and injury-induced PCD in vivo.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29750
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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