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Cell biologists' top scientific honor goes to pioneers of the cytoskeleton
Date:5/7/2014

motile cilium, cells with a single non-moving "antenna," were at the root of a common, lethal human disorder, polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This touched off a scientific land rush, linking cilium defects to a long list of "ciliopathies," diseases such as Bardet-Biedel syndrome, situs inversus, and nephronophthisis.

Heuser helped develop and refine new methods for "fixing" samples for electron microscopes through freeze-fracturing, using his technique of "deep freeze-deep etch EM" to revealed for the first time cellular processes too fleeting for traditional microscopy, including calcium-regulated exocytosis and membrane recycling. These "Heusergrams," as his former students called them, revealed details of the cytoskeleton in amazing high-resolution including cytoskeletal motors, clathrin and coated pits, SNARE complexes that are the mechanism of vesicle fusion, and endosomal sorting complexes that are required for vesicle transport.

Brinkley is best known for his discovery of the kinetochore, the crescent-shaped, three-layered laminated plate that attaches the center of a duplicated chromosome to microtubule spindle fibers that pull it apart from its "sister" duplicated chromosomes during cell division. This is the culmination of the whole process of DNA replication and thus the basis of growth. Brinkley's work was also critical in the description of the MTOC, the microtubule organizing center, another major piece of cell machinery, and in later work linking MTOC defects to cancer. Brinkley was also the first to successfully employ an immunofluorescent antibody to study tubulin, the family of proteins that combine to generate microtubules.

All three 2014 Wilson Medal winners are longtime ASCB members. Brinkley, who has been a member since 1964, was ASCB President in 1980. Heuser joined the ASCB in 1976 and delivered the prestigious Keith Porter Lecture in 1985. Satir was a founding member of ASCB in 1961 and served on ASCB Council f
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Contact: John Fleischman
jfleischman@ascb.org
513-706-0212
American Society for Cell Biology
Source:Eurekalert  

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