Kinetochores as force-sensing and -generating machines


  • Prof Andrew McAinsh

    University of Warwick

Project summary

During mitosis chromosomes undergo an exquisite series of four-dimensional manoeuvres that result in each daughter cell receiving an exact complement of the genetic material. At the heart of this process lie kinetochores, which assemble on each chromosome and form dynamic connections to spindle microtubules. There is an extensive parts list for the kinetochore, but we still lack an understanding of how the kinetochore moves and makes force. Professor McAinsh's research aims to understand the mechanisms by which kinetochore-microtubule complexes work as multi-component force-generating machines: how specific protein modules within the kinetochore complex collaborate to generate, exert and sense force. To achieve this, Professor McAinsh will be combining new microscope-based live-cell imaging assays with computational and biophysical tools. This work will provide key insight into how cells avoid errors in chromosome segregation, an event associated with developmental syndromes and cancer.