About Cancer Biology
Our laboratory studies the process of cell death. Upon the exposure of different kind of stress (like uv radiation, starvation, xenobiotics etc) the cell takes on various death pathways like Apoptosis, Autophagy, Necrosis. Apoptosis has been the far and widely studied cell death pathway with membrane blebbing, activation of caspases and cellular and nuclear fragmentation. Recent studies on cell death shows the emergence of several non apoptotic pathways like Paraptosis, Pyroptosis, Ferroptosis etc.
Cancer cells acquire the ability to resist apoptosis, and flourish in the system. Triple negative Breast cancer cells are one among the therapy resistant tumor cells. To treat these cells alternative approaches that trigger non apoptotic death pathway have to be sought.
Paraptosis is a non apoptotic programmed death pathway. Extensive cytoplasmic vacuolation, absence of DNA fragmentation and caspase activation, swelling of endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria are the main features of the pathway which distinguishes it from apoptosis.
Since time immemorial the Indian tradition puts forth the Ayurvedic medicine. Scientific research also has now turned towards the wide usage of natural products in various arenas. We try to induce the Paraptotic form of cell death in the tumor resistant cancer cells using various natural products.
We are also trying to understand the biology of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in health and disease relevant to India with special reference to malnutrition. Focus is on cell adhesion protein fibronectin and its interaction with different cell surface proteins from both host (MMP-2, heparin, collagen) and guest [fibronectin/collagen binding proteins (FBP /CBP) from microbes].
- Characterization of Fibronectin isoforms and proteolytic fragments affecting cell behaviour (cell morphology, migration, proliferation)
- Factors affecting gelatinase (MMP-2) mediated fragmentation of fibronectin
- Fibronectin and collagen binding proteins from probiotics: We are screening different potential probiotic strains from popular and affordable fermented food and beverages, which bind to denatured collagen (gelatine) and fibronectin. The goal is to design better probiotics, peptides drugs which will compete against the host -pathogen interaction at cell surface.