Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery of cell division 'master controller' may improve understanding and treatment of cancer

Date:
September 11, 2013
Source:
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Summary:
Researchers have found that the protein cyclin A plays an important but previously unknown role in the cell division process, acting as a master controller to ensure the faithful segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

In a study to be published in the journal Nature, two Dartmouth researchers have found that the protein cyclin A plays an important but previously unknown role in the cell division process, acting as a master controller to ensure the faithful segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

Cell division is the process in which cells reproduce by splitting into two identical copies. This process happens trillions of times in an average person's lifetime. To generate two identical copies, cells must separate their chromosomes precisely, an event that relies on the bi-oriented attachment of chromosomes to spindle microtubules through specialized structures called kinetochores. In the early phases of division, there are numerous errors in how kinetochores bind to spindle microtubules. Normal cells efficiently correct these errors so that chromosomes segregate faithfully. However, cancer cells generally do not correct these errors, resulting in daughter cells with abnormal numbers of chromosomes, which may help these cancer cells develop resistance to chemotherapy treatments.

In their study, Dartmouth researchers Lilian Kabeche, PhD, and Duane Compton, PhD, show that microtubule attachments at kinetochores are very unstable in early phases of division. The unstable attachments promote the correction of errors by causing a constant detachment, realignment and reattachment of microtubules from kinetochores in the cells as they try to find the correct attachment. Their study found that the protein cyclin A governs this process by keeping the process going until the errors are eliminated.

"An analogy for this process could be dating," said Compton, Senior Associate Dean for Research and professor of biochemistry at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. "The chromosomes are testing the microtubules for compatibility -- that is, looking for the right match -- to make sure there are correct attachments and no errors. The old view of this process held that chromosomes and microtubules pair up individually to find the correct attachment, like conventional dating. However, our results show that the system is more like speed dating. All the chromosomes have to try many connections with microtubules in a short amount of time. Then they all make their final choices at the same time. Cyclin A acts like a timekeeper or referee to make sure no one makes bad connections prematurely."

In normal cells, persistent cyclin A expression prevents the stabilization of microtubules bound to kinetochores even in cells with aligned chromosomes. As levels of cyclin A decline, microtubule attachments become stable, allowing the chromosomes to be divided correctly as cell division proceeds. In contrast, in cyclin A-deficient cells, microtubule attachments are prematurely stabilized. Consequently, these cells may fail to correct errors, leading to higher rates of chromosome mis-segregation.

"Many cancer cells continuously mis-segregate their chromosomes," says Kabeche. "The major cause is improper kinetochore-microtubule attachments. Therefore, understanding how kinetochore-microtubule attachments are regulated throughout cell division is important, not only for furthering our understanding of cell division, but also for allowing us to correct these problems in cancer cells."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lilian Kabeche, Duane A. Compton. Cyclin A regulates kinetochore microtubules to promote faithful chromosome segregation. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12507

Cite This Page:

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "Discovery of cell division 'master controller' may improve understanding and treatment of cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911161008.htm>.
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. (2013, September 11). Discovery of cell division 'master controller' may improve understanding and treatment of cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911161008.htm
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "Discovery of cell division 'master controller' may improve understanding and treatment of cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911161008.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) The World Health Organization called Tuesday on governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Official: British Ebola Sufferer Receiving Experimental Drug

Official: British Ebola Sufferer Receiving Experimental Drug

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) A British nurse infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is being given the same experimental drug used on two US missionaries who have recovered for the disease, doctors in London say. Duration: 00:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins