What is it about?

The spindle is a micron-sized protein machine that self-assembles into a symmetric bipolar shape to split pairs of replicated DNA when a cell commits to division. We have discovered rules for assembling the spindle into the correct shape and rules that lead to its failure. We also discovered that a previously uncharacterized material property of the spindle, which allows it to memorize the shape, reinforces the correct assembly while making it difficult to fix incorrect assembly.

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Why is it important?

Abnormally shaped spindles are linked to conditions that impact human health (e.g. cancer, infertility). The mechanism of how such spindles appear in cells is not known. Our study proposes the underlying physical and molecular mechanisms. This was achieved by an interdisciplinary collaboration of biophysic, biochemistry, and computer science.

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This page is a summary of: Morphological growth dynamics, mechanical stability, and active microtubule mechanics underlying spindle self-organization, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2209053119.
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