I am trying to understand more about how cells die. Normally, cells have a built-in program to make them die if they’re not needed anymore or if something goes wrong in them. But cancer cells manage to avoid dying, so if we can understand more about how cells normally die, this will help us understand how cancer cells evade death, and eventually we can design new drugs to kill cancer cells.
To go into a bit more depth about my work, I’ve discovered a new protein that seems to be involved in controlling when cells die. This protein (which had the funny name “crinkled”) interacts with another protein (“Dronc”) that is known to be essential for cell death – when it’s activated, Dronc ‘chops up’ components of the cell, to dismantle it in an orderly way. So it’s likely that Crinkled somehow regulates Dronc, to make sure it’s turned on and off at the right times. I’m trying to figure out exactly what it does.