Cell division is a beautifully choreographed mechanical process in which the cell constructs a microscopic microtubule-based structure called the mitotic spindle. This facilitates physical segregation of chromosomes into daughter cells. Our work is focused on the kinetochore - an adaptive, multi-layered mechanochemical machines that assemble at the centromere of each sister chromatid and engage on their outer face with the plus ends of k-fibres, microtubule bundles that emanate from the spindle poles.
We are working to address three key questions in the cell division field: 1) how do kinetochore-microtubule interactions generate the pushing and pulling forces nessessary for chromosome movement? 2) How do kinetochores sense changes in attachment and convert this into checkpoint signals 3) What is the origin of chromosome segregation errors in human mitosis and meiosis? Approaches in the McAinsh lab include live-cell microscopy, computational image analysis, mathematical modelling and in vitro reconstitution.
Smith C.A., McAinsh A.D. and Burroughs N.J. (2016)
Human kinetochores are swivel joints that mediate microtubule attachments
Drechsler H. and McAinsh A.D. (2016)
Kinesin-12 motors cooperate to suppress microtubule catastrophes and drive the formation of parallel microtubule bundles
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113(12):E1635-44
Burroughs N.J., Harry E.F. and McAinsh A.D. (2015) Super-resolution kinetochore tracking reveals the mechanisms of human sister kinetochore directional switching.
Drechsler, H., McHugh, T., Singleton, M.R., Carter, N.J. and McAinsh, A.D. (2014) The kinesin-12 Kif15 is a processive track-switching tetramer.