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In all organisms, cell growth and division are tightly coupled with the replication of the genome. In eukaryotes with multiple chromosomes, the task of specifically segregating one copy of each chromosome to a daughter cell is particularly important, and errors in this process are a hallmark of many cancers. CMM Faculty are studying diverse aspects of eukaryotic chromosome segregation and cell division. Don Cleveland studies the mitotic checkpoint, the network of signaling proteins that senses kinetochore-microtubule attachment and tension to ensure accurate chromosome segregation, and also studies how the centromere is designated through the deposition of the specialized CENP-A histone protein. Arshad Desai and Karen Oegema combine biochemistry and cell biology in C. elegans to study the architecture of the kinetochore and the machinery that drives cell division. Other CMM faculty study the interactions between cell cycle/cell division machinery and diverse DNA repair pathways (Kolodner, Zhou), and the roles of this machinery in development and disease (Dowdy, Goldstein, Spector).
Image: Courtesy Arshad Desai.