Gonna Be A Shoot-Out!

That's right. There's gonna be a shoot-out. The White Hats and the Black Hats will take to the dusty streets. White Hats try to keep, say, Bax from poking holes in the mitochondrial membrane, triggering release of cytochrome c. Black hats try to trap Bcl-2 in a crossfire. Caspases get involved, too, and calpain, and ROS, and PERK and protein synthesis and a slew of other factors. So the town's fate will depend, in part, on the outcome of a complex web of Bcl-2 family protein-protein interactions, like a bunch of individual gun battles. Will Wyatt take out Ike Clanton? Will Bcl-2 keep Bax pinned down behind the Saloon? Will Doc Holliday blow away Bad Boy Billy and Frank McLaury with one blast of his shotgun? It is the outcome of all these interactions that will help determine the fate of the cell--life or death. 

Clearly, this is a complex, multi-dimensional process, one that is inherently chaotic. Different factors can push it one way or the other, but the different outcomes are in a very real sense chaotic attractors, and the exact outcome for a particular cell is, in a certain sense, unpredictable, although the probability of death and survival for a particular situation can be known from experience.

 

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