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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

The Effects of the Loss of Fence Function between Lung Epithelial Cells Exposed to Cigarette Smoke

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 07/01/2010
End Date 06/30/2011
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 09/25/2010 02:42AM
Keywords cigarette smoke


  Cindy Knall

Student Researchers
  Meagan Byrne


It is vital for a polarized cell to retain its polarity in order to function properly. Previous research has shown that epithelial cells which have been exposed to cigarette smoke lose their tight junction function. Tight junctions are necessary to prevent the lateral diffusion of integral membrane proteins between the apical and basal surfaces. Without these tight junctions, it is impossible for cellular functions such as endocytosis, exocytosis, and other transcellular transport to occur properly. Fence functions are able to prevent the diffusion of proteins from either the basal side to the apical or vice versa by blocking off each membrane domain. It is important to study what effect the loss of these tight junctions has on the fence functions as well
as the diffusion of proteins throughout the cell membrane to determine what effect this may have on the polarity of cells. The polarity of cells, which is formed as the cell is incorporated into a tissue remains in place unless otherwise disrupted. The loss of the polarity of a cell can lead to detrimental effects such as loss of membrane transport systems, viral infection via exposed viral receptors, stimulation of uncontrolled growth by autocrine mechanisms, and tumor formation.

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