LKB1 pathway and its role in cancer

Published on March 22, 2011   63 min

A selection of talks on Biochemistry

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Hello I'm Dario Alessi, working at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at University of Dundee. And in this lecture, I'm going to tell you about the fascinating LKB1 signaling pathway and it's role in cancer.
So, I'm going to start by giving a short introduction in signal transduction and why we are interested in this and what got us interested in LKB1. So, at first glance, the human body might only seem to be a bundle of tissues and organs contained by blood vessels, but for organisms to survive, every cell must be able to function in harmony with its neighbors and be able to sense its ever-changing environment. Now, to accomplish this task, each cell has developed an intricate web of molecular highways which they use to communicate with each other and decide what goes on in the outside world. Life scientists, such as myself, refer to these channels of communication as the cell signaling pathways or networks. And these pathways play essential roles in controlling processes such as cell growth and proliferation, but they also play much more basic roles, for example, they control the cell's capacity to absorb and store nutrients from the outside environment to be used as resources for fuels. So, researchers first studied these signaling pathways out of interest, but it's become a much greater urgency to work on these signaling pathways since it's become clear that defects in these pathways are the cause of many common diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. And that's what I'm going to tell you about in this talk.