Special Issue "Apoptosis—50 Years after Its Discovery 2.0"

A special issue of Biomedicines (ISSN 2227-9059). This special issue belongs to the section "Cell Biology and Pathology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2023) | Viewed by 1377

Special Issue Editor

1. Department of Medical and Health Sciences, School of Health and Human Development, University of Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal
2. Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development (MED), University of Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal
Interests: biology of oral tissues; eating behavior and its effects on the health of people and populations; food, health and society and the “One Health” approach
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Apoptosis is a type of programmed cell death found in animals, first described in 1972 [Kerr et al. 1972]. As the authors mentioned in the original article, “The term apoptosis is proposed for a hitherto little recognized mechanism of controlled cell deletion, which appears to play a complementary but opposite role to mitosis in the regulation of animal cell populations”. It is known that apoptosis is involved in cell turnover in many healthy adult tissues, in both physiological involution and atrophy of various tissues and organs—such as in the female reproductive cycle and in the renewal of the epidermis and gastrointestinal mucosa—and is responsible for the focal elimination of cells during normal embryonic development—for example, during endochondral ossification and palatal fusion. On the other hand, anomalies in the regulation of cell death can play a significant role in some diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Whereas some situations are associated with insufficient apoptosis, others have an excess of apoptosis. Cell death by apoptosis can also be induced by noxious agents, in both the embryo and the adult animal.

Fifty years after its discovery (2022), we think that a Special Issue about the role of apoptosis in health and disease would be interesting, highlighting the balances/imbalances between apoptosis and the cell cycle and other associated events for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis, namely, differentiation, migration, and programmed cell clearance. For this Special Issue authors are invited to review recent work or submit original studies in all areas of cell death research, with an emphasis on the aforementioned balances/imbalances between apoptosis and other cellular processes and on novel physiological and pathological functions or regulatory mechanisms in normal tissues and in various diseases.


Kerr JF, Wyllie AH, Currie AR. 1972. Apoptosis: a basic biological phenomenon with wide-ranging implications in tissue kinetics. Br. J. Cancer 26: 239–57.

Dr. Fernando Capela e Silva
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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Evaluation of CDK9 Inhibition by Dinaciclib in Combination with Apoptosis Modulating izTRAIL for the Treatment of Colorectal Cancer
Biomedicines 2023, 11(3), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines11030928 - 16 Mar 2023
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Treatment options for colorectal cancer (CRC), especially in advanced stages are still insufficient. There, the discovery of Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) was a bright spot. However, most cancers show resistance toward apoptotic signals. Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) plays a crucial [...] Read more.
Treatment options for colorectal cancer (CRC), especially in advanced stages are still insufficient. There, the discovery of Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) was a bright spot. However, most cancers show resistance toward apoptotic signals. Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) plays a crucial role in cell cycle progression in most tissues. We recently demonstrated the role of CDK9 in mediating TRAIL resistance. In this work, we investigated the role of CDK9 in colorectal cancer. Immunohistochemical analysis of CDK9 expression in cancer and normal tissues of CRC specimens was performed. The effect of selective CDK9 inhibition in combination with TRAIL on CRC cells was analyzed via cell viability, colony formation, and induction of apoptosis by flow cytometry. The mechanism of action was conducted via western blotting. We now have confirmed overexpression of CDK9 in cancer tissues, with low expression associated with poorer survival in a subset of CRC patients. In-vitro, CDK9 inhibition could strongly promote TRAIL-induced cell death in TRAIL-resistant CRC cells. Mechanistically, CDK9 inhibition induced apoptosis by downregulation of antiapoptotic proteins, myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein 1 (Mcl-1) and FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP). Overall, we identified CDK9 as a prognostic marker and combined CDK9 inhibition and TRAIL as a novel and promising therapeutic approaches for colorectal cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Apoptosis—50 Years after Its Discovery 2.0)
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