Ava K Chow
Medicine & Dentistry-Dentistry and Dental Hygiene
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
Cell-cell communication is essential for proper tissue function. Connexins are primary players in the mediation of intercellular communication, though their regulation is not yet fully characterized. Connexins are often considered the context of electrical coupling and gap junctions but new emerging roles of connexins reveal that this protein may also be important in aspects of cell death, gene regulation and preconditioning. Caveolins are small molecular weight proteins that are found in the plasma membrane to be associated with small cell invaginations called caveolae. Caveolins mediate the function of a number of different proteins and some connexins are associated with caveolin. As such, caveolin may be a novel mediator of connexin function. My research explores the following themes: 1) Regulation of gap junction assembly and function 2) Caveolin regulation of intracellular connexin trafficking 3) Role of mitochondrial connexins and caveolin in apoptosis Understanding the mechanisms that underlie intercellular communication may lead to important therapeutics in a number of fields, including of fields, including dentistry, cardiology and obstetrics.