A hallmark of cancer is uncontrolled cell division, and many cancers therapeutic measures work by disrupting microtubule dynamics and/or mitotic spindle architecture to arrest cell division. It is clear that proper microtubule organization and length regulation are important for the successful completion of cell division. In this study, we will focus on mechanisms for how microtubule-associated proteins regulate microtubule lengths and organize spindle microtubules during mitosis. To provide a basis for these and future studies, we will first focus on microtubule dynamics in the absence of regulating proteins to better understand the relationship between microtubule tip structures and microtubule dynamics. Our preliminary modeling results predict that microtubule tip structures are important for self-regulating microtubule dynamics. We will investigate this hypothesis using in-vitro fluorescence and electron microscopy, as well as in-vivo analysis in budding yeast. Then, we will investigate the mechanism for tip-tracking of important microtubule plus end-binding proteins, such as Eb1, to determine whether the microtubule tip structures could provide a platform for targeting of important length-regulating proteins to the microtubule tip. Finally, we will investigate the role of microtubule- associated proteins in organizing microtubules into a mitotic spindle during cell division. Specifically, we will use in-vivo experiments in budding yeas cells, in-vitro reconstitution, and computer simulations to determine the role and mechanism of Kinesin-14 minus-end directed motors in establishing proper microtubule bundling in mitotic spindles.

Public Health Relevance

A hallmark of cancer is uncontrolled cell division. In this proposal, we will study the mechanisms that regulate and control cell division. Therefore, this work will help us to better understand the mechanism of current cancer therapies, and also provide potential drug targets for new therapies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Modeling and Analysis of Biological Systems Study Section (MABS)
Program Officer
Swain, Amy L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Mooneyham, Ashley; Iizuka, Yoshie; Yang, Qing et al. (2018) UNC-45A Is a Novel Microtubule-Associated Protein and Regulator of Paclitaxel Sensitivity in Ovarian Cancer Cells. Mol Cancer Res :
Reid, Taylor A; Coombes, Courtney; Gardner, Melissa K (2017) Manipulation and quantification of microtubule lattice integrity. Biol Open 6:1245-1256
Coombes, Courtney; Yamamoto, Ami; McClellan, Mark et al. (2016) Mechanism of microtubule lumen entry for the ?-tubulin acetyltransferase enzyme ?TAT1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:E7176-E7184
Alberico, Emily O; Zhu, Zhiqing C; Wu, Yueh-Fu O et al. (2016) Interactions between the Microtubule Binding Protein EB1 and F-Actin. J Mol Biol 428:1304-1314
Erickson, Jami R; Gearhart, Micah D; Honson, Drew D et al. (2016) A novel role for SALL4 during scar-free wound healing in axolotl. NPJ Regen Med 1:
Edgerton, Heather; Johansson, Marnie; Keifenheim, Daniel et al. (2016) A noncatalytic function of the topoisomerase II CTD in Aurora B recruitment to inner centromeres during mitosis. J Cell Biol 213:651-64
Gardner, Melissa K (2016) Cell Biology: Microtubule Collisions to the Rescue. Curr Biol 26:R1287-R1289
Mauvezin, Caroline; Neisch, Amanda L; Ayala, Carlos I et al. (2016) Coordination of autophagosome-lysosome fusion and transport by a Klp98A-Rab14 complex in Drosophila. J Cell Sci 129:971-82
Stern, Lawrence A; Schrack, Ian A; Johnson, Sadie M et al. (2016) Geometry and expression enhance enrichment of functional yeast-displayed ligands via cell panning. Biotechnol Bioeng 113:2328-41
Reid, Taylor A; Schuster, Breanna M; Mann, Barbara J et al. (2016) Suppression of microtubule assembly kinetics by the mitotic protein TPX2. J Cell Sci 129:1319-28

Showing the most recent 10 out of 21 publications