Presenter: Will Conway (Harvard University)
Title: Biophysics of kinetochore microtubules in human mitotic spindles
Abstract: During eukaryotic cell division, microtubules bind to a macromolecular complex on the surface of chromosomes called the kinetochore. These kinetochore microtubules are crucial for biorienting chromosomes and accurate chromosome segregation. Studying how kinetochore microtubules nucleate, grow, and detach from the kinetochore has been challenging because individual microtubules cannot be resolved in the dense spindle environment with traditional light microscopy. Recent spindle reconstructions have overcome this limitation by using serial section electron tomography to trace the trajectories of every microtubule in the spindle. We utilized these complete spindle reconstructions along with dynamic light microscopy, quantitative live-cell FLIM-FRET experiments, and biophysical modeling to elucidate the lifecycle and regulation of kinetochore microtubules in human mitotic spindles.