The cellular mechanisms responsible for inducing aneuploidy in somatic cells
Aneuploidy, the condition of a cell possessing an incorrect chromosome number, is well known for inducing severe pathological genetic syndromes (e.g., Down syndrome), and is a hallmark of cancer. Somatic cell aneuploidy arises as a consequence of inaccurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. Whereas many possible mitotic errors can cause inaccurate chromosome segregation, we believe that not all of them are equally likely to occur in the leaving organism, and that some of them represent a more severe threat than others to chromosome stability. By using a combination of live-cell imaging, quantitative light microscopy, protein inhibition, and mathematical modeling (performed by our collaborators Dr. Alex Mogilner and Dr. Gul Civelekoglu-Scholey) we aim at identifying and characterizing the cellular mechanisms responsible for chromosome mis-segregation in both normal and cancer cells.