During asymmetric cell division, cells as diverse as stem cells and budding yeast make usage of their polarity to segregate cell fate determinants differentially between the two daughter cells. Beyond its medical and developmental importance, our laboratory study this process as a paradigm to study how cells control their spatio-temporal organization and coordinate complex architectural processes with each other.
Indeed, cell division is probably the most ancient morphogenetic event. Therefore, a detailed analysis of this process is likely to reveal the basic principles of how eukaryotes control their organization. In all eukaryotes, cell division results from the concerted action of the spindle, made of microtubules, and actin, at the cell periphery. A third class of cytoskeletal components, septin filaments, localizes to the site of cleavage in animal and fungal cells. We study the function of these cytoskeletal structures and how they are coordinated with each other in time and space during cell division. These studies are carried out in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
We follow three main directions. First, we investigate how cells coordinate their division and polarity axes during asymmetric cell division. Second, we investigate how cytokinesis is coordinated with the segregation of chromosomes away from the cleavage plane. Finally we study the mechanisms ensuring the asymmetric segregation of age determinants during the production of phenotypically young daughters out of older yeast mother cells.
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