Genetics Development and Cell Biology
Microtubules (MTs) are one of the three types of cellular cytoskeletons that provides structure and support to all eukaryotic cells. They are dynamically unstable, hollow, cylindrical polymers of tubulin-heterodimers that can undergo stochastic length fluctuations. This particular property helps MTs to assemble into highly synchronized molecular machines that can mediate a plethora of crucial cellular functions like cell division, cytoskeletal organization, axon guidance, intracellular transport, and force generation. However, failure to accomplish one or more such functions can compromise genome stability and cell viability. Differential regulation of the MTs sharing the same space, at the same time, must underlie their coordinated activities. Multiple cellular effectors regulate MTs to function coherently. But higher eukaryotes have hundreds of dynamic MTs that can confound our observations. Budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) offers a genetically tractable, simple eukaryotic model system, where there are fewer MTs and they can be tracked individually. My lab uses live-cell imaging, genetic analyses, and biochemical and molecular techniques to investigate MT regulation and the impact of their dysregulation in human diseases like neurodevelopmental disorders, faulty oocyte maturation, and cancer. My research is focused on elucidating how different effectors mitigate the inter-regulation between MTs during mitosis. Elucidating these mechanisms represents a significant and critical advance toward the goal of understanding how the actions of a multitude of dynamic MTs can be coordinated to achieve diverse and complex cellular processes.