Cell division is an integral process in all biological organisms for growth and reproduction. Yet this process is shrouded in mystery because of its complex and poorly understood mechanisms. Discovering the secrets of these processes will lead to a greater understanding of the unregulated cell division characteristic of cancer and even possible treatments for this disease. Many of the genes that are involved in human cell division are conserved in many other organisms and offer a simpler way to observe and learn about the cell division process. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe provides an excellent model organism for such research. The conserved anillin homolog, Mid1, is shown to be a key regulator in cell division and mutants of Mid1 show many mitotic defects. For example the septa that forms the new cell wall between dividing cells is often malformed or angled. Mid1 delete cells also show a misplaced division site that causes unequal division of the daughter cells. The regulation of Mid1 has been shown by previous research to be dependent on several enzymatic proteins. The goal of current research is to examine the interaction between Mid1 and an essential mitotic enzyme, polo kinase, and examine the mitotic phenotypes associated with this interaction.
Faculty Mentor: Dawn Clifford Hart, Cell & Molecular Biology