•  
  •  
 

Eukaryon

Class Year

2008

Keywords

Role Playing, H. Robert Horvitz, John Sulston

Abstract

Cell fate and cell death are central to any multicellular organism’s normal development. Our lab pioneered the use of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans in studying the fundamental processes that control cell fate and death, two events that cannot be divorced from one another. We discovered several cell lineage mutants, including lin-4, let-7, lin-12 and lin-14, which affect developmental timing and control. The effects of some of these mutations on the development of the vulva are examined here, which includes programmed cell death (PCD). The molecular genetic pathway of PCD was determined over the course of more than 20 years of study. The following mutations are known to act in PCD; ces-2, ces-1, tra-1, egl-1, ced-9, ced-3, ced-4, ced-11, ced-1, ced-6, ced-7, ced-2, ced-5, ced-10, ced-12 and nuc-1. The discovery of human homologues of most of these genes has shown that the PCD pathways in worms and humans are evolutionarily conserved. This conservation has proved to have immense implications on research for cures of many human disorders like neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, which are hypothesized to be caused by malfunctions in the PCD pathway. C. elegans has proved to be a truly noble organism, providing targets in the PCD pathway for intervention aimed at developing potential therapies.

Disclaimer

Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College. Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

Share

COinS