Biology 183 - Cancer Biology

Thought Questions for Exam 2

Hao Nguyen


1.   Describe how the inheritance of mutated genes (or heredity) and pre-existing disorders/diseases may contribute to the increase chance of carcinogenesis.


2.   What is the normal function of an activated p53?  Describe all the pathways that are activated by the expression and activation of p53.  What is the function of each molecule throughout the pathway?  How would the mutation of p53 directly or indirectly lead to the formation of cancer cells?  Describe how the mutation of p53 might affect each of the pathways discussed above.


3.   How do the following processes involved in carcinogenesis:  growth, cell death, repair, and cell-cell interaction?  How do problems in each or all of these pathways contribute to carcinogenesis? 


4.   Name and describe mutated genes that have been linked to the various cancers.  Describe the normal function of each gene (before mutation) and explain why carcinogenesis may occur with the absence of these functions.


5.   Name the type/types of genes that may be involved in carcinogenesis when mutated.  How do you think these mutated genes may contribute to carcinogenesis?


6.   Describe the Cell Cycle Regulation of a normal, uninvolved cell versus that of a cancer cell.  What is a cell cycle?  What are the various stages of a cell cycle?  How is the cell cycle regulated?  What are the major protein families that are involved in cell cycle regulation?


7.   Compare and contrast the major characteristics of a normal, uninvolved cell versus a cancerous cell.  What are the effects of cell proliferations and apoptosis on these characteristics?


8.   What are the morphological and biochemical properties of cancerous cells?  Are these properties restricted to cancer cells?  Are they exhibited in uninvolved cells?


9.   What groups of proteins are likely to be involved in carcinogenesis when they are in the mutated form?  Why and how do they affect carcinogenesis?  What are their normal functions in uninvolved cells?


10.  What is apoptosis?  What is the function of apoptosis?  What happens when the apoptotic pathway is inhibited?


11.  What is the normal function of the Rb protein?  Describe how the mutation of Rb protein might increase the chance of carcinogenesis.


12.  What is cell cycle arrest?  How is cell cycle arrest regulated?


13.  Discuss the role of Receptor Tyrosine Kinases.  How are they involved in normal cell functions?  How are they involved in cancer cellular functions?  How are they connected to proteins like Akt/PKB, ras, and cyclin?