Dr. Ying Wai Chan and Dr. Anna Santamaria, scientists from Prof. Erich Nigg’s research group, have been able to show that the enzyme Aurora B and the protein complex Ska play a central role in flawless chromosome segregation. These findings, also relevant to cancer research, have now been published in the current issue of «Journal of Cell Biology».
Spindle apparatus (left): Aurora B regulates the Ska complex. The chromosomes (blue) can be captured by the spindle fibres (green) at the attachment points (red). Spindle apparatus (right): Aurora B can’t regulate the Ska complex. Aurora B can’t fix the attachment points (red) between chromosomes (blue) and spindle fibres (green). (Photo: University of Basel)
The human body grows by cells dividing and multiplying. In this highly complex process, flaws may occur, which are responsible for the development of tumor cells. To ensure the error-free division of the cell, the genetic material of the cell – consisting of 23 pairs of chromosomes – must be divided evenly into two new daughter cells.
Prof. Erich Nigg’s research group has been able to show how the enzyme Aurora B, important for cell proliferation, ensures the error-free separation of the chromosomes. Aurora B regulates the interaction between two protein complexes (Ska complex and KMN complex) with the spindle apparatus, the molecular machine that drives cell division.
Aurora B determines the point in time and tensile strength
During cell division, the spindle apparatus produces spindle fibres. They reach out from two poles and each attaches to one sister chromosome. These are then pulled apart in opposite directions and incorporated into two daughter cells. “How the spindle fibre attaches to a chromosome is critical for the whole process“, explains Dr. Anna Santamaria. She and her co-workers have investigated the mechanism regulating how chromosomes get captured by the spindle fibres. The team found that, by regulating the protein complex Ska, the enzyme Aurora B determines the strength of the bond as well as the timing for optimal adhesion of the spindle fibres. Both must be exactly right to ensure that all sister chromosomes are correctly transferred to the two new daughter cells.
Tumor cells through errors in cell division
Should an error occur in this control mechanism, it could result in a chromosome being mis-segregated. Such cells could then develop into tumor cells and lead to cancer. Hence, the findings offer also insights which may lead to new approaches in cancer research. In collaboration with Prof. Elena Conti’s research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Erich Nigg’s team is concentrating its efforts on elucidating the structure of the Ska complex. The results so far look very promising and this spring another publication is expected.Original article
J Cell Biol, Published online February 27, 2012. doi:10.1083/jcb.201109001Contact
Heike Sacher | Universität Basel
Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University
Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering