The broad objectives of the research proposed here are to elucidate the functions of the centrosome in vertebrate somatic cells, and the molecular mechanisms by which it accomplishes these functions. To achieve these goals we use a unique approach in which the centrosome (labeled with fluorescent proteins) is ablated by a laser microbeam. This approach allows us to engineer cells that lack the centrosome, and compare their behavior with genetically identical cells that possess this organelle. Further, we combine laser microsurgery with inactivation of individual proteins by siRNA and cell-permeable compounds. This synergistic methodology provides new information unobtainable by other means. Our current research focuses on two areas. First, we are testing the hypothesis that improper balance between the contributions of centrosomal and centrosome- independent mechanisms during the assembly of mitotic spindle assembly leads to chromosomal instability. We follow the behavior of individual chromosomes in human cancer cells by high-resolution microscopy and investigate how this behavior changes when the centrosomes are laser ablated (Aim 1). We also study how chromosome behavior changes in response to perturbations of key molecules implicated in the centrosome- independent microtubule organization (TPX2 and HURP) or in the correction of erroneous chromosome orientations (Aurora B and kinesin 13s) (Aim 2). Finally, we use laser microsurgery, cell-permeable chemical inhibitors, and siRNA to study molecular and structural requirements for 'centriole disengagement', a key event in the centrosome cycle that must be properly controlled to prevent repetitive re-duplication of centrioles in the same cell cycle (Aim 3). Our observations suggest that daughter centrioles cannot disengage until they reach a certain level of maturation. Thus, control of centriole disengagement involves a previously overlooked mechanism that is intrinsic to the centrosome. We currently investigate molecular mechanisms responsible for procentriole maturation.

Public Health Relevance

Centriole amplification and improper segregation of chromosomes are hallmarks of cancerous transformation. Thus, revealing the origin of supernumerary centrioles and the determining how deregulation of centrosomal activities results in chromosome mis-segregation is essential to design new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer. This proposal seeks to characterize molecular pathways that underlie centriole amplification and to reveal mechanistic links between improper regulation of centrosomal activities and erroneous chromosome attachments during mitotic spindle formation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cellular Signaling and Regulatory Systems Study Section (CSRS)
Program Officer
Gindhart, Joseph G
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Wadsworth Center
United States
Zip Code
Magidson, Valentin; He, Jie; Ault, Jeffrey G et al. (2016) Unattached kinetochores rather than intrakinetochore tension arrest mitosis in taxol-treated cells. J Cell Biol 212:307-19
Tikhonenko, Irina; Irizarry, Karen; Khodjakov, Alexey et al. (2016) Organization of microtubule assemblies in Dictyostelium syncytia depends on the microtubule crosslinker, Ase1. Cell Mol Life Sci 73:859-68
Magidson, Valentin; Paul, Raja; Yang, Nachen et al. (2015) Adaptive changes in the kinetochore architecture facilitate proper spindle assembly. Nat Cell Biol 17:1134-44
Atilgan, Erdinc; Magidson, Valentin; Khodjakov, Alexey et al. (2015) Morphogenesis of the Fission Yeast Cell through Cell Wall Expansion. Curr Biol 25:2150-7
Heald, Rebecca; Khodjakov, Alexey (2015) Thirty years of search and capture: The complex simplicity of mitotic spindle assembly. J Cell Biol 211:1103-11
Sikirzhytski, Vitali; Magidson, Valentin; Steinman, Jonathan B et al. (2014) Direct kinetochore-spindle pole connections are not required for chromosome segregation. J Cell Biol 206:231-43
Magidson, Valentin; Khodjakov, Alexey (2013) Circumventing photodamage in live-cell microscopy. Methods Cell Biol 114:545-60
Tikhonenko, Irina; Magidson, Valentin; Graf, Ralph et al. (2013) A kinesin-mediated mechanism that couples centrosomes to nuclei. Cell Mol Life Sci 70:1285-96
Schilling, Z; Frank, E; Magidson, V et al. (2012) Predictive-focus illumination for reducing photodamage in live-cell microscopy. J Microsc 246:160-7
Leo, Meredith; Santino, Diana; Tikhonenko, Irina et al. (2012) Rules of engagement: centrosome-nuclear connections in a closed mitotic system. Biol Open 1:1111-7

Showing the most recent 10 out of 80 publications