Grants awarded

Centriole and centrosome assembly

Grantholder:

Prof Jordan Raff

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

Centrosomes are tiny intracellular structures that help organise the cell's 'skeleton'. Centrosome dysfunction has been linked to several human diseases, including cancer. 

We have developed methods that allow us to visualise and measure how proteins incorporate into assembling centrosomes in flies. We are deriving mathematical models of the assembly process and are testing them in mutant flies in which specific centrosome proteins have been altered to see how the alteration affects centrosome assembly. Our studies have led to several important discoveries — most notably that centrosome assembly is regulated by a molecular 'clock'. This has been the first demonstration that a clock can regulate the assembly of a cell structure. 

We aim to understand how this clock regulates centrosome assembly and test whether clocks might regulate and coordinate the assembly of other cell structures.