Dr. Jackie Vogel
McGill University - Quantitative Life Sciences
Nanoscale analysis of spindle formation in living cells
All cells must duplicate and partition their chromosomes during cell division. In eukaryotic cells, the mitotic spindle, a complex biological machine composed of microtubules and their associated proteins, ensures chromosomes are accurately partitioned into daughter cells. The formation of the mitotic spindle involves the formation of microtubules, and the control of both microtubule number and their interactions. The initial state of this system is poorly understood, as are the events that control the number of microtubules and how they interact to form the highly ordered and stereotyped spindles that efficiently segregate the chromosomes. In my talk, I will describe our efforts determine how the spindle is formed, and how the number and interactions of microtubules are controlled as the spindle assembles. In particular, I will describe how phosphorylation of intrinsically disordered regions of g-tubulin, the protein that nucleates the formation of microtubules, determines the number of microtubules and how they interact with force generating proteins.