Open Access
Article
Timing is everything: stochastic origins of cell-to-cell variability in cancer cell death
Joanna Skommer1,Subhadip Raychaudhuri1,Donald Wlodkowic1
1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. J.Skommer@auckland.ac.nz
DOI: 10.2741/3689 Volume 16 Issue 1, pp.307-314
Published: 01 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in molecular medicine)
Abstract

The diversity of cell populations is regulated by extracellular and intracellular variability. The latter includes genetic, epigenetic and stochastic variability, all contributing to the experimentally observed heterogeneity in response to external death-inducing stimuli. Studies of sources and regulation of variability in commitment to apoptotic cancer cell death are likely to identify the fundamental features of apoptotic protein networks that are responsible for determining the ultimate cell fate. Systems biology approaches, involving computer simulations of the biochemical reactions accompanied, if possible, by experimental verification of selected components of the model, are proving useful in determining the origins of cell-to-cell variability in response to external stress stimuli. Here we summarize our current understanding of the origins of stochastic variability in cells' commitment to apoptosis, and its implications in the field on cancer therapy.

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Joanna Skommer, Subhadip Raychaudhuri, Donald Wlodkowic. Timing is everything: stochastic origins of cell-to-cell variability in cancer cell death. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2011. 16(1); 307-314.