Gabriel Ichim

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The neurotrophins - NGF, BDNF, NT-3 - are secreted proteins that play a major role in neuron survival, differentiation and axon wiring toward target territories. They do so by interacting with their main tyrosine kinase receptors TrkA, TrkB, TrkC and p75(NTR). Even though there is a general consensus on the view that neurotrophins are survival factors,(More)
Regulated, programmed cell death is crucial for all multicellular organisms. Cell death is essential in many processes, including tissue sculpting during embryogenesis, development of the immune system and destruction of damaged cells. The best-studied form of programmed cell death is apoptosis, a process that requires activation of caspase proteases.(More)
The Bcl-2 proteins Bax and Bak can permeabilize the outer mitochondrial membrane and commit cells to apoptosis. Pro-survival Bcl-2 proteins control Bax by constant retrotranslocation into the cytosol of healthy cells. The stabilization of cytosolic Bax raises the question whether the functionally redundant but largely mitochondrial Bak shares this level of(More)
Tropomyosin-related kinase receptor C (TrkC) is a neurotrophin receptor with tyrosine kinase activity that was expected to be oncogenic. However, it has several characteristics of a tumor suppressor: its expression in tumors has often been associated with good prognosis; and it was recently demonstrated to be a dependence receptor, transducing different(More)
Programmed necrosis (or necroptosis) is a form of cell death triggered by the activation of receptor interacting protein kinase-3 (RIPK3). Several reports have implicated mitochondria and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation as effectors of RIPK3-dependent cell death. Here, we directly test this idea by employing a method for the specific(More)
The receptor tyrosine kinase Met and its ligand, the hepatocyte growth factor, are essential to embryonic development, whereas the deregulation of Met signaling is associated with tumorigenesis. While ligand-activated Met promotes survival, caspase-dependent generation of the p40 Met fragment leads to apoptosis induction - hallmark of the dependence(More)
During apoptosis, the mitochondrial outer membrane is permeabilized, leading to the release of cytochrome c that activates downstream caspases. Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) has historically been thought to occur synchronously and completely throughout a cell, leading to rapid caspase activation and apoptosis. Using a new imaging(More)
Apoptotic cell death is widely considered a positive process that both prevents and treats cancer. Although undoubtedly having a beneficial role, paradoxically, apoptosis can also cause unwanted effects that may even promote cancer. In this Opinion article we highlight some of the ways by which apoptosis can exert oncogenic functions. We argue that fully(More)
The TrkC neurotrophin receptor belongs to the functional dependence receptor family, members of which share the ability to induce apoptosis in the absence of their ligands. Such a trait has been hypothesized to confer tumor-suppressor activity. Indeed, cells that express these receptors are thought to be dependent on ligand availability for their survival,(More)
Most apoptotic stimuli require mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) in order to execute cell death. As such, MOMP is subject to tight control by Bcl-2 family proteins. We have developed a powerful new technique to investigate Bcl-2-mediated regulation of MOMP. This method, called mito-priming, uses co-expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic(More)