Proper coordination of nuclear and cell division is necessary for the normal development of all eukaryotic organisms and for the maintenance of genomic integrity. The goals of my laboratory are two-fold: 1) to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating cytokinesis and 2) to learn how cytokinesis is coordinated with other events of the cell cycle including chromosome segregation and microtubule cytoskeletal rearrangements. We are asking a) what is the full complement of proteins that comprise the cytokinetic machinery, b) how is the cytokinetic machinery precisely localized between segregating chromosomes, c) what molecular event(s) triggers constriction of the cytokinetic machinery, and d) what ensures the correct timing of cytokinesis with respect to chromosome segregation?
To address these questions expeditiously, we are using yeast as a model organism.
Yeast offers many experimental advantages for the study of cell cycle regulation including facile genetics and a fully sequenced and annotated genome. Using genetics, proteomics, live cell imaging, biochemistry, and structural biology we are unraveling the sequence of events that directs formation and then constriction of the cytokinetic ring. We are also studying protein phosphorylation signaling pathways and ubiquitin ligases that control the spatial precision of cytokinesis, the organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton through the cell cycle, and the timing of cytokinetic events during mitosis.