New Publication by Postdoctoral Fellow Lia Paim

Published: 28 February 2024

Cell division is a fundamental process for growth and repair in our bodies. It relies on the beautiful and complex machinery of the mitotic spindle to ensure the accurate distribution of genetic material. The spindle is made up of tiny structures called microtubules, which act like molecular cables to move chromosomes to the right places. When these microtubules don't work properly, cells can end up with the wrong number of chromosomes, a condition known as aneuploidy, which is linked to cancer.

Recent research by postdoctoral fellow Lia Paim and her colleagues in the Bechstedt lab in our department uses advanced gene editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9 and live-cell imaging to study how microtubules operate during cell division. They discovered that a protein called CKAP2 is crucial in controlling how microtubules grow and function. Without enough CKAP2, cells experience significant problems in chromosome distribution during cell division, leading to aneuploidy.

Understanding the importance of CKAP2 in maintaining proper microtubule function not only deepens our knowledge of basic cell biology but also provides insights into why misregulation in CKAP2 activity could contribute to cancer development. The research highlights the complex and fascinating mechanisms within our cells and opens up new avenues for exploring potential targets in cancer therapy.

The above image depicts microtubule growth inside of a mitotic spindle captured by live cell microscopy and colour-coded by individual microtubules.

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