Positive feedback loop prepares cells for division

Positive feedback loop prepares cells for division

Cell division is a multi-stage process, which involves dividing the DNA into two daughter cells. Centrosomes organise microtubules, which help distribute chromosomes during cell division, as well as provide the cell with a structure. Centrosomes are made of two cylinders (called centrioles) wrapped in a pericentriolar material (PCM) which grows as the cell gets ready for division. The components that make up this PCM are conserved between most animals, thus working with Drosophila (fruit flies) can provide insights relevant to a variety of organisms.

Alvarez-Rodrigo et al, from the Raff lab, have studied the recruitment and subsequent organisation of some of the key components of the PCM in flies (Spd-2, Polo and Cnn). By making flies carrying mutant forms of Spd-2 that cannot interact with Polo they have discovered that these 3 key proteins have to co-operate in order for the PCM to grow in size in fly embryos. Identification of these interactions gives us a better understanding of the requirements for a properly functioning centrosome, thus developing our overall knowledge of the process of cell division, a process that is constantly happening within our bodies.

Heather Jeffery

Alvarez-Rodrigo I, Steinacker TL, Saurya S, Conduit PT, Baumbach J, Novak ZA, Aydogan MG, Wainman A, Raff JW. 

eLife 2019;8:e50130