Explosive cell death and human disease

Explosive cell death and human disease

Project details

Necroptosis is a form of cell death where cells essentially ‘explode’ and induce both innate and adaptive immune responses. This is important for our defence against infection or cancer, but harmful if it occurs chronically or inappropriately.

The protein MLKL is essential for necroptosis, and 1-2 per cent of people with European ancestry carry MLKL gene variants that may be super-charged to kill cells at certain times. Were these MLKL gene variants selected throughout human evolution because they confer resistance to infection? Are people that carry MLKL gene variants more likely to develop inflammatory disease in the ‘cleaner’ modern day world?

We are using a variety of scientific approaches to answer these questions, ranging from basic molecular biology to the analysis of real human patient samples.

About our research group

The Silke lab is a large research group that studies the cell signalling pathways that lead to programmed cell death and inflammation. We have made a number of discoveries in recent years that have contributed to the development of commercial drug screening programs and new therapeutic strategies for human cancers and inflammatory diseases.  





Dr Joanne Hildebrand in the lab
Cell Signalling and Cell Death division

Professor John Silke

John Silke
Joint Division Head

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