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"CRG Researchers find out the new role of a cell division motor"


Jue, 08/10/2009 - 18:06

"CRG Researchers find out the new role of a cell division motor"

The research published in Current Biology describes a new function of the motor protein Hklp2 during cell division, offering new elements for the understanding of illnesses such as cancer and insight into possible therapeutic strategies.
Cell division is a fundamental process in the development of organisms and tissue regeneration. Its principal goal is the production of two new cells containing stable genetic material, identical to the parent cell. The errors that could arise during during cell division are a frequent cause of spontaneous abortion and genetic anomalies (for example, Down’s Syndrome). Moreover, they could be the cause of or contribute to the development of certain illnesses such as cancer.
The cellular structure responsible for the separation of the chromosomes in order to create the identical new daughter cells is the mitotic fuse. This structure is composed of a series of highly dynamic filaments (the microtubules) which are organized thanks to the action of motor proteins. These proteins exercise pushing forces and connect each chromosome to two opposing points of the cell (centrosomes). The correct symmetrical distribution of genetic material in the daughter cells depends upon a good balance between the forces of the motor proteins.
The work of Isabelle Vernos and her colleagues reveals the role of the motor protein Hklp2 in the formation and stabilization of the mitotic fuse. Hklp2 appears to have a complimentary function to that of another protein known as Eg5, the exhaustive study of which, over recent years, has lead to the development of inhibiting compounds with a potent anti-tumor activity, which can currently be found in phase 1 clinical trials.
The identification of the role of Hklp2 in cell division enables a better understanding of how cells divide and offers the possibility of new studies into tumoral processes and the improvement of their treatment.
Reference: David Vanneste, Masastoshi Takagi, Naoko Imamoto and Isabelle Vernos. (2009) “The role of Hklp2 in the stabilization and maintenance of spindle bipolarity”. Current Biology.
For further information: Laia Cendrós, Dept. Comunicació i RRPP, Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG), Dr. Aiguader, 88 – Edif. PRBB, 08003 Barcelona. Tel. +34 93 316 02 37