Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Gerald Shields

Second Advisor

Grant Hokit

Third Advisor

Ron Wilde


Protein kinase C (PKC) controls apoptosis in amphibian systems such as that of the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. The effects of cancer inducing agents like phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) when combined with Ca2+ independent PKC inhibitors on programmed cell death were studied in A laevis splenocytes. Regulation of PMA-activated cells was observed via Annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide assays, flow cytometry, and Western blot analysis. Results indicate the PKC inhibitors reduced both apoptosis and cell growth in PMA-stimulated X. laevis splenocytes compared to PMA alone. These results are valuable to future mammalian cancer research. By identifying the various apoptotic mechanisms utilized by amphibian cells, researchers may become more informed regarding amphibians’ increased resistance to cancer and apply such knowledge to mammalian systems.