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Error correction in mitosis

Research Achievements

Error correction in mitosis

Exploiting interdisciplinary connections in a collaboration between UW's department of physiology and biophysics and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, an IGERT trainee dissected the molecular workings of the mitotic spindle, a remarkable nanoscale machine that executes trillions of cell divisions within the lifetime of a human body. Despite operating with accuracy unrivaled by any man-made nanomachine, errors in chromosome segregation contribute to formidable global health problems, including birth defects and cancer. By using biophysical tools for manipulating and tracking individual molecular assemblies with nanometer precision, they investigated how a specialized spindle component, the kinetochore, produces force to move the chromosomes and also ensures the accuracy of chromosome segregation. The outcomes of these experiments have provided a more complete understanding of error correction in mitosis and were published this year in Nature.