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Apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, is a coordinated and step-wise series of biochemical reactions resulting in the ordered disassembly of a cell from an organism. This normal biological process is required for proper organ development during embryogenesis and the removal of abnormal cells, such as the cells that are damaged by exposure to pathogens or undergo oncogenic transformation. The switch between cell survival and apoptosis is tightly regulated and critical to the development and well-being of an organism.

Defects in the apoptotic pathway that prevent cell death may lead to developmental abnormalities or unregulated tissue growth, as occurs in cancer. In contrast, pathological increases in apoptotic activity are hallmarks of several disease states including AIDS, neurodegenerative disorders, insulin-dependent diabetes, myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis. Consequently, manipulation of the apoptotic process is essential to better understand the development of various diseases and to discover potential therapeutic targets.

Cytology of Apoptosis

Cytology of Apoptosis

Induction of apoptosis evokes several significant biomolecular and morphological changes, some of which are commonly used as markers of apoptosis. These events lead of major phenotypic alterations, highlighted in the figure above. Apoptosis concludes with the formation of apoptotic bodies, which are cleared by phagocytes or neighboring cells.

Key Markers of Apoptosis

  • Activation of apoptotic signaling cascades including the Bcl-2 family
  • Phosphatidylserine exposure on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane
  • Release of cytochrome c from mitochondria
  • Activation of caspases
  • Cleavage of specific caspase substrates
  • DNA fragmentation

Explore Methods for Detecting Apoptosis

Antibodies for cancer and apoptosis research

Research products such as Akt antibodies and Actin antibodies are widely used in cancer research. Techniques such as immunoprecipitation and paraffin-embedded immunohistochemistry are used to track and detect proteins associated with apoptosis (programmed cell death) and tumor formation. We, at Novus Biologicals, supply a vast range of antibodies for the study of cancer and apoptosis. Whether you need an Actin, Bax or Caspase 3 antibody, we can supply highly specific, affordable products across the full range of apoptosis targets.

Actin Antibodies

Actin is found in all eukaryotic cells, in three main isoforms - alpha, beta and gamma. Each Actin isoform is specific to a certain cell type and performs distinct functions. In addition, we provide specific Actin antibodies for each isoform. Beta-actin is found in all mammalian cells and, thus, is widely used in Western blot detection assays as a loading control. A specific beta-actin antibody is then employed to study its distribution. Beta-actin antibodies are of particular importance in cancer research, as raised levels of Beta-actin have been implicated in the formation of breast tumor cells.

Akt Antibodies

Akt, also known as Protein Kinase B (PKB), acts to inhibit apoptosis and to promote proliferation. Akt antibody formation has been noted in active cancer cells, where it inhibits the action of Akt. Akt genes are heavily implicated in normal human apoptosis, meaning excess Akt antibody production can lead to tumor formation. Akt production can be triggered by clinical stimuli such as chemotherapy, so Akt antibody preparations are also used to monitor the affects of anti-cancer drugs.

Bax Antibodies

Bax antibodies are used as markers for Bax, a protein which promotes apoptosis, and is heavily implicated in the growth of tumor cells. Researchers determine which Bax antibodies to use based on which applications they are using for Bcl-2 Antibodies

Bcl-2 antibodies, similar to Bax antibodies, are used in apoptosis research. There are at least 25 Bcl-2 proteins on the market, implicated in a large number of cancers - our Bcl-2 antibody range is similarly extensive.

Bcl-2 refers to a specific lymphoma protein. Monoclonal Bcl-2 antibody is used to detect both Bcl-2 and prevent its pro-apoptotic action.

Caspase 3 antibodies

Capsase 3 antibodies are used to study Caspase 3 cleavages - an important element of apoptosis. Capsase 3 antibodies are used to detect both full-length and cleaved Caspase 3 proteins.

Capsase 3 antibodies are also used in Alzheimer's research, as Caspase 3 levels are linked to neuronal death.

Survivin Antibodies

Survivin antibody preparations are widely used in apoptosis research, predominantly to detect Survivin in adult tissues. Survivin is switched off during fetal development; therefore, levels of Survivin in healthy cells will be close to zero. In tumor cells, Survivin reactivates; Survivin antibodies will detect these elevated levels.

Survivin antibodies detect both nuclear and cytoplasmic Survivin localization in a wide range of applications. Our antibody catalog covers all areas of cancer research, apoptosis research and many other segments of scientific exploration. Our products contain full technical data and are guaranteed to work in the applications and species stated on the datasheet. We have a range of antibody targets to suit your needs and research budget.