The conserved protein "Misato".

Scientists identify a potential new role for the mitotic protein Misato

Since it was first described over 10 years ago, the conserved protein “Misato” has been known to have a role during mitosis, however its exact function has remained unclear.

Now, in a new Current Biology Report Professor James Wakefield's lab, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Rome, have found that this protein has a central role in ensuring animal cells have enough of the building blocks required for cell division.

Mitosis, the fundamental biological process by which the cell accurately divides its chromosomes, is driven by a dynamic cellular structure termed the mitotic spindle. The spindle is made up of thousands of protein filaments called microtubules, each of which is a polymer of individual Tubulin proteins. However, before Tubulin can be incorporated into microtubules it first needs to be folded into the correct 3D shape, a process that is regulated by the TCP-1 chaperone complex. In this article Palumbo et al have shown that Misato, whose 3D shape resembles that of Tubulin, is necessary for the stability of the TCP-1 complex. By maintaining the stability of this complex Misato therefore ensures that the cell has enough Tubulin in the correct shape, in order to generate the mitotic spindle and ensure chromosomes are accurately segregated to daughter cells.

Commenting on the significance of this research Professor Wakefield stated that " this fundamental study helps us understand, in much more detail, how an animal cell makes sure it has enough correctly folded Tubulin to play with, when it comes to building a mitotic spindle. Given that all multicellular life divides its duplicated chromosomes using Tubulin as a building block, it's exciting to think that Misato might have the same role in all these cells".

Read the full article in Current Biology.

Date: 24 June 2015

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