Study investigates the pathways controlling cell survival

Research led by David Litchfield, PhD, chair of the Department of Biochemistry is providing new understanding about the pathways that control cell signals, helping to unravel the mysteries of cancer cells.

The research titled “An Unbiased Proteomic Screen Reveals Caspase Cleavage Is Positively and Negatively Regulated by Substrate Phosphorylation,” is published in the May issue of "Molecular & Cellular Proteomics" as a highlighted paper. The work is a collaboration between the Litchfield lab and those of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry colleagues Gilles Lajoie and Shawn Li, as well as Lee Graves and Gary Johnson at the University of North Carolina.

“The main thrust of this work is the use of emerging proteomics strategies to explore the relationship between pathways that control cell survival,” says Litchfield.  “Overall, our work provides new insights regarding the relationship between pathways that control cell survival - and how perturbations in pathways that promote growth can interfere with signals that should promote cell death.”

Funding for this research was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, and the University Cancer Research Fund.  The first author on the paper, Jacob Turowec was supported by a Doctoral Banting and Best Canada Graduate Scholarship and a Canada Graduate Scholarship Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement.