The role of the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint protein BUB3 in tumourigenesis
Dr Sara Morais Da Silva
University of Cambridge
Identifying the mechanisms underlying the uncontrolled proliferation of tumour cells is important for opening new avenues for drug therapies for cancer. The development of some tumours is linked to the failure to distribute chromosomes during cell division, a process controlled by the so-called spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) proteins. However, it is unclear how this uncontrolled proliferation arises.
The similarities between Drosophila and the human cell in terms of cycle, cellular processes and regulatory pathways make it an excellent model to study mechanisms of tumourigenesis. My research will use Drosophila to investigate whether the combinations of other genetic lesions can prevent or potentiate tumour growths. Preliminary evidence suggests that the metabolic state of the cells may be a contributory factor. In addition, using Drosophila will also make it possible to study tumours over multiple generations, as the tumour can grow indefinitely through serial transplantations.
This model avoids some of the complexities of mammalian tumours yet has the potential to identify new aspects of tumour development, which can be useful for development of new therapies.