Dynein: one motor, many cargos and multiple cellular functions

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Anders Olsen


Aalborg University


DKK 450,000




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Cells can commit suicide via apoptosis as a natural step during development of tissues and organs and also as a protective mechanism against cancer if their DNA is damaged. A dead cell is rapidly removed by a process called engulfment. Interestingly, the engulfment machinery can communicate with a cell about to undergo apoptosis by molecular mechanisms that are not fully understood. We have recently found that the molecular motor dynein plays a role in the communication between the engulfment machinery and dying cells. Mechanisms of dynein movement are well established, but how cargo is selected and loaded is still largely unknown. We hypothesize that dynein cargo holds the key for mediating the dialogue between cells and new ways of treating diseases where apoptosis plays a causal role.

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