Across the Divide
A dividing cell is one of the most recognisable images in biology, but it’s still quite mysterious. Hundreds of different proteins work together inside, like mechanical parts in a clock, ensuring cell division, or mitosis, happens on time – too slow, and there’s a risk of problems in development; yet cancers may form when division is too quick. A new interactive web site, MitoCheck, lets us watch fluorescently-labelled proteins side-by-side inside dividing human cancer cells – the results of many experiments using a combination of confocal microscopy techniques. Pooling the information together produces an interactive atlas of 28 proteins that will grow to hundreds in the next few years. Here five proteins, including AURKB (red), help share the cell’s DNA between the two daughter cells. MitoCheck will eventually provide a resource for researchers to compare hundreds of different protein combinations – learning more about life and disease as the entire cellular ‘clockwork’ emerges.
Written by John Ankers
- Video by Arina Rybina and Julius Hossain, Ellenberg group, EMBL
- European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany
- Video copyright held by the authors
- Research published in Nature, September 2018