University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
The DNA in the cell’s nucleus carries all the critical information required for life. Hence, its accurate duplication and subsequent distribution during cell division is vital. Sophisticated intracellular machinery is responsible for precise packaging of the DNA into chromosomes before cell division occurs. KIF4 is a molecular motor protein that is involved in this process. However, it functions in the nucleus, which is devoid of the structural polymers called microtubules that are normally required for the activities of motor proteins like KIF4. How KIF4 contributes to DNA organisation in this environment is unclear. My proposed research combines biochemistry, in vivo microscopy of living cells and in vitro DNA single-molecule assays to address this question.
The proposed research will help elucidate how KIF4 organises DNA to form chromosomes and will provide the first insights into how a kinesin executes a critical cellular function in the absence of microtubules.