Apoptosis is a highly regulated form of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms during development, throughout the lifespan, and in response to cellular stress. Nuclear condensation, cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, and DNA fragmentation are characteristic features of the cellular disassembly that occurs during this form of cell death. A family of proteolytic enzymes, called caspases, serves as the central regulators of apoptosis, and their activity, in turn, is balanced by myriad additional pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins. The dysregulation of apoptosis occurs in and contributes to the pathology of several disease states, including autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. Therefore, understanding how and why apoptosis influences these biological processes may lead to advances in therapies to treat and benefit human health.
Topics: Cell Biology
Toll-like receptors (TLR) are transmembrane receptors that play a critical role in innate immune responses. The name derives from the homology to the Drosophila Toll gene; unlike adaptive immunity which evolved in the vertebrate lineage, innate immunity exists (and is conserved) in invertebrate branches.
The human immune system comprises an array of ingenious cellular components and mechanisms that collectively protect us from harmful exogenous pathogens. Harnessing this power to attack and treat cancer is an intense area of research. Understanding why cancer cells normally evade immune surveillance and developing strategies to help the immune system distinguish between tumor cells and healthy tissue may lead to the development of highly efficacious therapies for those afflicted with cancer.
During haematopoiesis in humans, cells of the myeloid lineage are derived from a common myeloid progenitor (CMP) in the bone marrow. This lineage — which includes monocytes, granulocytes, erythrocytes, and platelets — is a primary component of the innate immune system and serves as a first line of defense against infection.
Biological research is about expanding knowledge, so it's not uncommon for scientists to become interested in studying proteins for which antibodies have not yet been developed. How then, can scientists pursue mechanistic studies of these novel or less-characterized proteins? Epitope tagging is a powerful tool for these protein studies and is used in myriad experimental applications. However, care must be taken not only in choice of epitope tag, but in selection and validation of antibodies.
Topics: Antibody Performance
Interested in studying senescence? Understanding when and why cell cycle arrest occurs is critical to many fields of research, including (but not limited to) studies of development, aging, and cancer. We all know the best tools produce the best results, so make sure you have all your bases covered with this list of the top 10 targets for your senescence research!
The production of new cells through cellular proliferation impacts the development, growth, and maintenance of all tissues in the body. This process must be tightly regulated, since uncontrolled cell division – as seen in various cancers – can lead to tumor formation and disrupt organ function. These broad implications for biological activities highlight the importance of understanding and accurately measuring cellular proliferation in a variety of contexts.
Topics: Cell Biology
The health of cells in culture is critical to the success of your experiments. Have you ever been excited about the experimental results of a knock-down, drug treatment, or culture condition, only to realize later that the effects are skewed due to the amount of cell death that occurred in your samples? Measuring and comparing cell viability in your assays is important, whether it’s the data you’re pursuing or an important control in your experiment.
Topics: Cell Biology
For decades, immunohistochemistry (IHC) has been a powerful technique for the investigation and visualization of cellular components in their native histological context. IHC has served as an important tool in medicine – enabling the diagnosis of complex pathological conditions – and in basic research to advance the understanding of key biological processes.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) is a flexible and powerful technique used by researchers to elucidate how gene regulation is involved with different biological events and with the progression of various conditions like cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.