Welcome to the Cell Cycle Group web site. The laboratory,
led by Luis Aragón, was established in 2002 and is part of
Development and Cancer Section of the MRC
Clinical Sciences Centre and Imperial
College London. The Group is a talented and friendly team comprising
postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and a research assistant who use
budding yeast as a model system to investigate fundamental questions
in biology. In these pages you will find information about the Group
and its research, as well as research
opportunities in the laboratory.
We encourage you to contact us if you have
any questions about the Group or this site.
The objective of the Cell Cycle Group is to understand
the molecular mechanisms orchestrating the equal and faithful segregation
of chromosomes during cellular division. Cells have an extraordinary
ability to replicate; this property makes them the most complex entities
known and is the essence of life itself. The thrill of studying the
cell cycle is touching fundamental processes of life while dealing
with very sophisticated mechanisms. Cells inherit their genetic information
in the form of chromosomes during mitosis from a mother cell. Following
DNA replication in S-phase, cells are linked together (sister-chromatid
cohesion), compacted (chromosome condensation), untangled and then
moved to opposite poles of the cell (segregation). All these events
are coordinated and executed with astonishing precision to prevent
aneuploidy, a condition of inappropriate chromosome number that is
associated with the development of malignant cancer and birth defects.
Yeast cells [+]
(Click image to enlarge)
type yeast cells in metaphase. Cells express the
nucleolar marker Net1 fused to the green fluorescent protein
(GFP). Cells were arrested in metaphase using the microtubule
inhibitor nocodazole. The nuclei are shown in red and the
ribosomal DNA in green. Note how the rDNA located in the middle
of the large chromosome XII protrudes from the main nuclear
body forming a loop.
The work of the group is focused on the analysis
of protein complexes that mediate chromosome structure and segregation,
namely cohesin, condensin and a novel complex, the 'SMC5/SMC6'. We
are also interested in regulatory networks that operate during cellular
divisions. We use yeast as a model organism in our efforts to unravel
the controls that govern chromosome segregation and cell cycle progression.