New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

Cell division finding could boost understanding of cancer

February 3, 2014
University of Edinburgh
New insights into how the cells in our bodies divide could improve our knowledge of a condition linked to cancer, a study suggests.

Errors in the cell division process -- which allows us to grow and stay healthy -- can lead to a genetic disorder called aneuploidy, which is also associated with birth defects and infertility.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have pinpointed the key role played by a protein in ensuring that cells separate correctly.

DNA duplication

During cell division, chromosomes containing our DNA duplicate and then separate to form two identical copies of the original cell.

Aneuploidy arises when chromosome pairs fail to separate properly.

Scientists say that a protein -- called shugoshin -- serves two important functions.

It recruits other parts of the cell which are needed for chromosome separation and enables an in-built error correction system to monitor cells as they divide.

Cell behavior

Researchers studied the effect that disabling shugoshin had on cell division in yeast.

The team found that in the absence of a working shugoshin protein, cells were more likely to contain abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

Cell division in yeast is very similar to that of humans, making it an excellent model in which to study the role that shugoshin plays in preventing aneuploidy in people.

The study, published in the journal eLife, was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the European Molecular Biology Organisation, the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance and the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. K. F. Verzijlbergen, O. O. Nerusheva, D. Kelly, A. Kerr, D. Clift, F. de Lima Alves, J. Rappsilber, A. L. Marston. Shugoshin biases chromosomes for biorientation through condensin recruitment to the pericentromere. eLife, 2014; 3 (0): e01374 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.01374

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Cell division finding could boost understanding of cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2014. <>.
University of Edinburgh. (2014, February 3). Cell division finding could boost understanding of cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 15, 2024 from
University of Edinburgh. "Cell division finding could boost understanding of cancer." ScienceDaily. (accessed July 15, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily