Cells are the fundamental unit of life, and all cells form from other cells by cell division. To do this, cells first duplicate their genetic material (DNA) and then move one copy to each new daughter cell. Cells perform this task millions of times each day. The cellular structure utilized for cell division is called the mitotic spindle, and this structure is required to organize and arrange the chromosomal DNA and segregate it into the daughter cells. At each cell division, the spindle is assembled, carries out the task of chromosome segregation, and is disassembled until the next division. Mitosis is extremely important for the formation, development and maintenance of all living organisms. The focus of the work in our lab is to understand how this microscopic machine forms and functions.
Microtubules in the spindle of an LLC-Pk1 cell imaged using expansion microscopy.