The More the Messier: Understanding Complicated Cell Division

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Kristin Knouse
Amon Laboratory
MIT Koch Institute

The mitotic spindle is an array of tracks that partitions chromosomes during cell division. Most normal cells form bipolar spindles, which segregate chromosomes equally into two daughter cells. However, many cancer cells form multipolar spindles, which cause chromosome missegregation and genomic instability.

Like many cancer cells, liver cells also form multipolar spindles during cell division. Shown here is a liver cell with a multipolar spindle (green) pulling the chromosomes (blue) in many directions. Further research into cell division in the liver could indicate how this process is exploited or disrupted in cancer, revealing novel avenues for cancer therapy.

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Kristin Knouse offers further insight into the story behind her award-winning image.

You can also watch her presentation from the opening event here.