Strategies mammalian cells use to survive without growth factors

Strategies mammalian cells use to survive without growth factors

Project details

Mammalian cells import a variety of extracellular nutrients to support their growth and survival. We have found that cells that cannot find the nutrients (glucose, amino acids) that they need to proliferate undergo apoptosis, but if this process is blocked, they survive but undergo cell cycle arrest. The starved cells still respond to growth factors by expressing genes such as c-myc, and increase in size, but they do not synthesise DNA and remain arrested in G1 and G2/M.

We wish to determine where cells obtain the energy they need to stay viable, but why that is insufficient to permit division. Students will use advanced cell biology and microscopy techniques to discover how mammalian cells acquire nutrients from the extracellular environment to survive, grow and divide.

About our research group

Our group is interested in how cells regulate their cell survival and cell death systems. We wish to understand the pathways that regulate cell growth and cell division, and the strategies cells use to stay alive when growth factors or nutrients are limiting.

Many diseases are characterised by either too much or too little cell death, or by unregulated cell proliferation. We hope that understanding cell death and survival processes will help us develop new treatments for these diseases.




Dr Hoanh Tran profile photo
Cell Signalling and Cell Death division

Professor David Vaux

David Vaux
Deputy Director and Joint Division Head

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