Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Jeanne A. Hardy
Scott C. Garman
Michael J. Knapp
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Molecular Biology | Radiochemistry
Caspases are the cysteine proteases that facilitate the fundamental pathway of programmed cell death or apoptosis. The activation and function of these powerful enzymes are tightly regulated to ensure the faithful execution of apoptosis and prevent untimely cell death. Many deadly human diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration and autoimmune disorders have been associated with defective activation and faulty regulation of caspases. As such, caspases are considered as attractive drug targets, which when properly controlled, can lead to effective therapeutics for apoptosis-related diseases. Thus, comprehensive investigations of the structure, function and regulation of caspases are necessary to understand the complex mechanisms by which caspases are controlled in order to harness their potential for therapeutic purposes. This dissertation details the studies on the regulation of caspase-9 by phosphorylation mediated by the kinases PKA and c-Abl. Complementary approaches of biochemistry, structural biology and cell biology were utilized to elucidate the divergent mechanisms by which these kinases inhibit caspase-9 function. A critical residue was revealed to be a hotspot for inactivation upon PKA phosphorylation, utilizing two different mechanisms to silence caspase-9 activity. In addition, a novel site of phosphorylation by c-Abl that leads to inactivation was uncovered and is unique to caspase-9. These findings contribute to the growing information about caspases and kinases that will aid in the development of therapeutic strategies for apoptosis-related diseases.
Serrano, Banyuhay Paningbatan, "The Molecular Basis of Caspase-9 Inactivation by PKA and c-Abl Kinases" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations. 1192.