Adaptation of cell division to acute environmental spatial contraints
Dr Holly Lovegrove
University of Manchester
New cells have to be generated via cell division (known as mitosis) so the body can grow and maintain tissues. Much of our knowledge about cell division comes from studies performed using systems where single isolated cells are grown in a dish. However, many cell types, including invasive cancer cells, have to divide while squeezing between other cells and tissues. It is thought that undergoing cell division while being compressed can cause errors to occur, leading to the production of damaged cells.
My research uses the migrating cells of developing blood vessels to understand whether cell division under these more extreme circumstances is carried out in the same manner as in isolated cells. I am particularly interested in how the shape of the cell is affected and how this affects the success of the division. This research will be largely carried out in zebrafish embryos as their transparency and capacity to develop outside the adult fish make them ideal for visualising the dynamic nature of cell division in a complex living system.