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Catalan researchers identify a key component of cell division
Date:8/21/2012

This press release is available in Spanish and in French

- The Nek9 protein is required for chromosomes to separate into two identical groups.

- Nek9 exerts its action between two molecules of interest for the pharmaceutical industry as anti-tumoral agents, and for which inhibitors are already in advanced stages of clinical trials. Nek9 could be added to the list of candidates.

A study by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the Center for Genomic Regulation (acronym in Catalan CRG) highlights the protein Nek9 as a decisive factor in cell division, a fundamental process for both the development of an organism and tissue maintenance. Headed by the researchers Joan Roig at IRB Barcelona and Isabelle Vernos at the CRG, the study describes that Nek9 is required for a cell to be able to divide the chromosomes into two identical groups in order to ensure efficient and accurate cell division. In fact, errors in the correct distribution of chromosomes cause many spontaneous miscarriages, some genetic defects such as trisomies, and are also related to the development of tumours.

"Through this study we demonstrate that a fourth family of proteins, namely NIMA and specifically Nek9, exert functions in cell division as important as those undertaken by the widely studied CDK (cdk1), Polo (Plk1) and Aurora (Aurora A and B) kinases", explains the scientist Joan Roig, specialist in the NIMA protein family and co-discoverer of Nek9.

The scientists study cell division and more specifically the first stages of mitosis or the process of the cell nucleus dividing in half. The distribution of the chromosomes requires the development of machinery that separates the two copies of the genetic material in such a way that the two resulting cells from the
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Contact: Sarah Sherwood
sarah.sherwood@irbbarcelona.org
34-934-034-636
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Source:Eurekalert

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