Ulrike Gruneberg

Regulation of mitotic progression and chromosome segregation

Cell division is the fundamental basis for growth and development of an organism. Millions of cell divisions have to occur before an organism reaches its final size. Throughout the life span of an organism, blood, skin and intestinal cells have to be constantly replaced by further cell division. High fidelity of cell division is therefore critical to prevent proliferative diseases such as cancer.

Research in the laboratory focuses on understanding how equal chromosome segregation is achieved during mammalian cell division. Faithful genome segregation requires the attachment of the paired sister chromatids making up each chromosome to spindle microtubules from opposite poles of the mitotic spindle. The correct attachment of the chromosomes to the microtubules via kinetochores is critical for successful chromosome segregation and is monitored by a cellular surveillance system referred to as the “spindle assembly checkpoint” (SAC).

We are interested in understanding the different processes that contribute to the fidelity of chromosome segregation. Key questions that we aim to address are: how is the formation of the mitotic spindle regulated? how do the chromosomes attach to the microtubules? how does the SAC work?

To study these processes we use mammalian tissue culture cells and employ a combination of biochemical and cell biological methods including imaging of both live and fixed cells, and mass spectrometry and in vitro kinase and phosphatase assays.

A DPhil position is available in our lab to work on a collaborative project with Francis Barr's lab (Department of Biochemistry) investigating the biology and substrates of the spindle checkpoint phosphatase PP2A-B56.

Relevant Publications

Espert, A., Uluocak, P., Nunes Bastos, R., Mangat, D., Graab, P. and Gruneberg, U
2014

J Cell Biol 206: 833-42

Cundell M.J., Bastos R.N., Zhang T., Holder J., Gruneberg U., Novak B. and Barr, F.A.
2013

Mol. Cell 52: 393-405.

Hammond D., Zeng K., Espert A., Bastos R.N., Baron R.D., Gruneberg U*. and Barr F.A*
2013

J Cell Sci 126: 3429-3440.

*joint corresponding authors

Dunsch, A.K., Linnane, E., Barr, F.A. and Gruneberg, U
2011

J Cell Biol 192: 959-968.

ulrike.gruneberg@path.ox.ac.uk

Research Areas