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Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have identified a novel protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for correct segregation of a full set of chromosomes to each daughter cell during cell division.
New cells are formed during cell division by a precisely regulated partitioning of cellular content into the two daughter cells. Cell division is therefore a fundamental biological process in which the replicated chromosomes of the mother cell are distributed equally to two daughter cells. This is accomplished by the attachment of the paired chromosomes to a bipolar network of fibers known as the spindle apparatus (or mitotic spindle). Shortening of the fibers then draws the two sets of chromosomes to opposite poles of the network, and a contractile ring in the center cleaves the cell in two. The mitotic spindle is organized by organelles known as centrosomes, which act as spindle poles. Defects in cell division which lead to incorrect segregation of the chromosomes can have grave consequences and are associated with diseases such as cancer. The research group led by Dr. Tamara Mikeladze-Dvali at the LMU Biocenter studies how cell division is regulated at the centrosomal level. Together with her team, she has identified a protein that plays an essential role in the assembly of the bipolar spindle in animal cells. The new findings appear in the journal Current Biology.
Centrosome - Pair - Centrioles - Protein - Matrix
The centrosome is comprised of a pair of cylindrical centrioles, which are embedded in an amorphous protein matrix called the pericentriolar material (PCM). In the mother cell the centrosome is normally found in the vicinity of the cell nucleus, and is replicated prior to the onset of cell division. Each centrosome then acts as a nucleation site for the assembly of spindle fibers, which gradually pushes the two centrosomes apart...
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