Extracellular Redox Control of Cell Survival Pathways in the RPE
An important pathological change of AMD is the degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that oxidative stress contributes to the degenerative process of the RPE, and that risk factors of AMD, such as aging and smoking, are also associated with increased systemic oxidative stress. Dr. Cai intends to characterize how a newly identified protein, FKBP38, may function to protect the RPE against oxidative stress. Although previous studies have shown FKBP38 to be a potent inhibitor of cell death, its role in AMD has never been studied.