There are currently two well established main checkpoints in cell division. In this week’s Nature (Vol. 412, No. 6844, 19 Jul 2001), researchers report a new type of checkpoint in yeast. This finding could lead to a better understanding of how cells form different tissues.
For cell division to work, each daughter cell must get one complete set of chromosomes. To achieve this, the chromosomes attach to a framework of proteins called the spindle, which aligns them and pulls them to opposite poles of the cell.
The newly discovered checkpoint ensures that the spindle forms in the correct position by monitoring another network of filaments, made of the protein actin, that criss-cross the cell, Jonathon Millar of the National Institute for Medical Research, London, and colleagues have found. Variations in the functioning of this checkpoint may lead cells to divide asymmetrically — an important factor in development — and its breakdown may induce cells to become cancerous.
Yukinobu Nakaseko and Mitsuhiro Yanagida of Kyoto University discuss the broad implications of the finding in an accompanying News and Views article.
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(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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