Dr Tanaka said: "Microtubules have attracted much attention because they are such a fundamental structure in the cell to direct numbers of dynamic cellular activities. For example, they play an essential role in chromosome segregation during gamete formation. Also, it is known that mutations in the proteins that modulate microtubule dynamics can result in lissencephaly. Furthermore, empirically, microtubule-targeted drugs that disrupt the microtubule dynamics have been shown to be effective in cancer treatment.
"When cells form gametes or various neuronal cells, microtubule reorganisation occurs to help the transition. We used yeast cells to investigate this reorganisation of the microtubule.
"In collaboration with Dr Claude Antony's Group at EMBL (Heidelberg), leading experts in the electron microscopy and tomography, we, for the first time, could have a very close look at the microtubule arrangement in yeast cells undergoing sexual differentiation using EM tomography. Dr Charlotta Funaya in Antony's group has done the amazing EM work that requires extreme accuracy and dedication.
"We found that a radial microtubule array emanating from a site called microtubule organising centre (MTOC) was readily recognisable. Strikingly however, the structure of the MTOC during early sexual differentiation is distinctively different from the well-known one from proliferating cells. We named this novel structure the radial microtubule organising centre (rMTOC).
"I am really excited by this discovery as it has been my aspiration to employ electron tomography to look at the cell structure during the yeast sexual differentiation process, where amazing reorganisation of microtubule architecture takes place. We were extremely lucky to be able to collaborate with Dr Antony's group in EMBL Heidelberg. We were stunned when we saw the striking rMTOC structure."
In another advance, the team collaborated with the Biological Mass Spec
|Contact: Dr. Kayoko Tanaka |
University of Leicester