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Recreating the Cell Division Apparatus: Top-Down meets Bottom-Up

Biology Colloquium | Dr. Mohan K Balasubramanian | Mar 15th, 2023

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Cell division (cytokinesis) in many eukaryotes involves the function of an actomyosin based contractile ring. Over the years, the fission yeast has emerged as an excellent organism for the study of eukaryotic cytokinesis regulatory mechanisms. I will discuss the work carried out in my group on assembly and contraction of the actomyosin contractile ring. I will discuss a combination of methods involving genetics, advanced imaging, and reconstitution to understand actomyosin ring assembly. I present evidence for the assembly in vitro of a contraction competent actomyosin ring with only five components. I will also describe our work on cytokinetic ring contraction using an approach in which we have isolated cytokinetic rings that are contraction-competent in vitro. Finally, I will describe how new approaches such as machine learning and structure prediction are generating paradigm shifts in our understanding of cytokinetic force generation mechanisms. We believe the combination of the approaches we use will help generate an understanding of the process across scales.

About Speaker:

Mohan Balasubramanian is a professor at the the Warwick Medical School and the Director of Institute of Advanced Studies at University of Warwick, UK .  His Synthetic Cell Biology Lab at Warwick employs techniques spanning cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and quantitative light microscopy to investigate and understand mechanisms that govern cell division. Professor Balasubramanian graduated in chemistry from Madras University in India and pursued a post-graduate program in microbiology and Biotechnology in Baroda, India. He carried out his Doctoral research at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, where he initiated his study of cell division in fission yeast. Following post-doctoral research at Vanderbilt University, USA, where he furthered his study of cell division, he joined the Institute of Molecular Agrobiology Singapore in 1997 and the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory Singapore in 2002. He moved to The University of Warwick, UK in 2014. 

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