Our current work is focused on determining how expression of cancer-associated genes c-myc and p53 affects sensitivity to TNF and FasL induced programmed cell death in cell lines representing various stages on the pathway to cancer. We are also using our cell lineages to determine whether activation of caspase-2 plays a role in the differential sensitivity of cells to TNF- and FasL-mediated cytotoxicity. In addition, studies are underway to characterize TNF- and FasL-induced changes in mitochondrial membranes. This involves monitor the appearance of mitochondrial-associated proteins involved programmed cell death such as caspase-2, caspase-9, cytochrome c, and apoptosis Inducing factor.
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