This signal regulates the number of centrosomes in the cell, and its absence results in the development of pathologically altered cells. Remarkably, such altered cells are found in people with a neurodevelopmental disorder, called autosomal recessive primary microcephaly. The results of these investigations have been published in the current issue of the US journal Current Biology.
Normal separation of chromosomes (blue) with two centrosomes (red) in a bipolar spindel apparatus (green).
Biozentrum, Universität Basel
Flawed separation of chromosomes (blue) with several centrosomes (red) in a multipolar spindel apparatus (green).
Biozentrum, Universität Basel
Cell division is the basis of all life. Of central importance is the error-free segregation of genetic material, the chromosomes. A flawless division process is a prerequisite for the development of healthy, new cells, whilst errors in cell division can cause illnesses such as cancer. The centrosome, a tiny cell organelle, plays a decisive role in this process.
Prof. Erich Nigg’s research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has investigated an important step in cell division: the duplication of the centrosome and its role in the correct segregation of the chromosomes into two daughter cells. The protein STIL has an essential function in this process. It ensures that centrosome duplicate before one half of the genetic material is transported into each of the two daughter cells.
In the future, the research group led by Erich Nigg plans to uncover other connections between errors of cell division and the illness microcephaly. They also want to focus on the investigation of other proteins that play important roles in the process of cell division, in particular those involved in centrosome duplication.Original Citation
Current Biology, 30 January 2014 | doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.016
Further Information• Prof. Dr. Erich Nigg, University of Basel, Biozentrum,
Heike Sacher | Universität Basel
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