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Role of anti-apoptotic proteins in lens cell biology

Lens cells last a lifetime. As far as we can judge, apoptosis (programmed cell death) does not occur in the normal healthy lens, despite the extreme age of the cells. Furthermore, lens cells perdure in a hypoxic and hypoglycemic environment – precisely the kind of environment that triggers cell death in most tissues. We hypothesize that the unusual resilience of the lens cells may be attributed to the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins during lens cell differentiation. In this rotation, the distribution of such proteins within lens tissue will be studied using immunocytochemical and in situ hybridization techniques. We anticipate that experimental findings will contribute to our understanding of cataract development and may also shed light on the mechanism by which certain types of cancers become resistant to chemotherapy.

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