Scientists reveal new cell division mechanism

According to the researchers, cell division occurs is a process of cytokinesis – a situation whereby the continual division of body cells leads to the development of body tissues and organs and the overall functions of the whole body system. Yet, therapies that could result from this new understanding that chromosomes have a larger role in cytokinesis could influence the manner in which we battle cancer.

This new finding was described July 13 in Nature, in an article entitled, “Kinetochore-localized PP1-Sds22 couples chromosome segregation to polar relaxation”.

Cell division in animal cells involves mitosis – a process by which chromosomes are separated followed by splitting of the cell into two new daughter cells by cytokinesis. There are microscopic structures called microtubules that play role in bringing chromosomes to opposite poles of the cell, when the cell division occurs. In 2010, a paper in a Elsevier journal devote to cell life stated that the cell division process could hold the key to beating all carcinogenesis. “At this time, microtubules physically separate the chromosomes via their central kinetochores while other microtubules signal to the cortex of the cell where its equator is, i.e., where division will take place”, Hickson explained. The findings suggest chromosomes actually emit signals that signals the cell cortex to reinforce microtubule action. A human being begins from a single cell that divides countless times, and many of our cells continue to divide throughout our lives, with significant consequences for our health. However, it has been revealed in some recent experiments conducted by researchers that they are actively involved in separating and dividing the living cells. However, working with fruit flies, the research team discovered that the chromosomes emit signals-such as a specific enzyme complex now known as Sds22-PP1-to the microtubules. For example, stem cells divide asymmetrically, while most other cells divide symmetrically, and we still do not understand these differences in molecular terms.

Considered a breakthrough in the medical field and biology, the study authors hope the new discovery will expand horizons in molecular biology and cancer research, which has stagnated due to lack of understanding into molecular processes.

“Such evolutionary conservation from flies to humans is expected for processes as fundamental as cell division”, Hickson said.

Despite researchers having gained a fair insight into how the entire mechanism is carried out, they haven’t been able to figure out the molecular mechanisms completely, and it was believed that chromosomes play a passive role during cell division and not an active role. This finding from the scientific consortium is reckoned as a breakthrough in comprehending the fundamental process of life. With the help of robust and well-characterised genetic models, such as the fruit fly, we will get there.

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