Apoptosis and autophagy in the regulation of T lymphocyte function.
During the development and normal function of T lymphocytes, the cells are subject to several checkpoints at which they must "decide" to live or die. At these critical times and during homeostasis, the molecules that regulate the classical apoptotic pathways and survival pathways such as autophagy have critical roles in controlling this decision. Our laboratory has focused on the roles of apoptotic and autophagic proteins in T lymphocyte development and function. Using genetic models in mice and in vitro analyses of T cell functions, we have outlined critical roles for the Bcl-2 family (regulators of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis), c-FLIP (an anti-apoptotic protein in the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis), and autophagy in T lymphocytes.
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