Caspases as modulators of stem cell function

Recently, it has been shown that Caspase activation can be an effective system for regulating stem cell function in several organisms, including humans. However, the molecular basis of such regulation remains unclear. We aim to attain a better knowledge of this phenomenon not only during the normal development, but also in tumor conditions.

Interplay between Caspases and cell migration

The role of caspases during cell migration is sustained by multiple lines of evidence in several model organisms. However, the precise contribution of caspases to this process at the subcellular level is still unclear. We are trying to investigate in detail this question with the aim of getting new insights about cell migration and potentially metastasis.

Caspases and neurogenesis

Caspase activation can contribute decisively to the development and proper functionality of the nervous system without compromising cell viability. Importantly, deregulated caspase activity in these cellular contexts frequently leads towards disease (alzheimer, parkinson, neurodegeneration...). Part of our goal is getting a better comprehension of these emerging roles in the nervous system and ultimately of the pathological links.

Seeking new binding partners and substrates

Caspases are synthesized as inactive proenzymes with the ability to bind to other proteins. The regulation/function of Caspases relies on the interaction with other proteins and proteolytic processing of specific substrates. Unfortunately, our current knowledge of the caspase interaction networks in non lethal scenarios is very limited. Elucidating  this network is one of the major challenges in order to understand Caspase function fully. In addition, it could pave the way for finding new therapeutic opportunities based on the regulation of caspase function.

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Ongoing Projects 

We are a young research group focused on offering a comprehensive view of Caspase function through several research programs (see below). If you think you can help us to achieve our goal, do not hesitate to contact us

Contact Details:

 

alberto's Phone: +44 (0) 1865 618653
Lab Phone: +44 (0) 1865 618652

e-mail: alberto.baenalopez@path.ox.ac.uk