To function properly in the body, proteins must be folded into the correct shapes. But sometimes protein folding does not occur correctly, and misfolded proteins begin to accumulate. If this accumulation is prolonged or extensive, it can lead to cell death and contribute to the progression of diseases like cancer.
However, certain stress responses can help reduce the volume of misfolded proteins. Recent evidence suggests that these responses can also change cell-to-cell communication, but we still do not understand how. Dr. Susan Logue, Canada Research Chair in Cell Stress and Inflammation, is exploring how stressed cells influence and communicate with their neighbouring cells. She and her research team hope the knowledge they uncover will help them to better understand cellular stress responses in the body as a whole rather than as isolated events in single, stressed cells.