Normal attachment between chromosomes and microtubules within the mitotic spindle are integral in proper chromosome alignment and segregation. Defects in this process have been implicated in certain cancers and trisomy syndromes. I want to understand how certain kinesin motors control chromosome movement by regulating the physical linkage between kinetochores and microtubules. Outside of lab, I specialize in knowing random trivia, finding new beers/breweries to try, and snowboarding poorly.
The key point of mitosis is to evenly distribute the genetic information to each daughter cell upon division. The mitotic spindle (made up of microtubules) assembled during this time helps align and separate the chromosomes by attaching to the sister chromosomes. Some kinesin-like motor proteins are used as a way to modulate the the microtubule dynamics, thereby directly regulating chromosome alignment and separation during metaphase and anaphase, respectively. A kinesin-like motor protein called Kif18A accumulates to the plus-ends of the kinetochore microtubules, attenuating microtubule dynamics and is implicated in aligning the sister chromosomes during metaphase. Although there is another motor protein that can also modulate plus-end microtubule dynamics (Kif4A), our data indicate that they are not functionally equivalent. My project focuses on investigating the structural and functional differences in these mitotic motor proteins.