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Needling Chromosomes Reveals Cell Division Secret

ould result in broken needles, stretched chromatids or ripped-apart cells. However, he said, Paliulis mastered the delicate technique and performed numerous experiments pulling the chromatids apart at different points along their length and at different times during cell division. The experiments revealed that the chromatids are attached to one another, but that they initially separate at their centers, zipping apart until they are entirely separate. Then, they can be drawn to the opposite poles of the dividing cell. The experiments also revealed that it is the erosion of linkages between the chromatids, and not any tension exerted by the spindle, that causes the chromatids to separate. Also intriguing, found the researchers, was that the chromatids mysteriously remained stuck to one another at a time when biochemical analysis could not detect any cohesin proteins in the cell. Nicklas believes that the twin chromatids may still have some entanglements between the corresponding DNA strands on each chromatid. DNA, which makes up genes in the cell, replicates itself as a central process in chromosome duplication. "So, we’re left with the mystery of what molecules hold the chromatids together at this point in cell division,?Nicklas said. "But that’s the usual outcome of work in my laboratory and a sign that we're doing good science since we raise new questions. We lay the mechanistic groundwork for the molecular explanations that have to be made. So, our colleagues who do molecular work are both provoked and challenged by us," he said.
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