Timothy J. Mitchison
Department of Systems Biology
We work on cytoskeleton dynamics, in particular the mechanism of mitosis and the mechanism of cell motility dependent on actin polymerization. Our group uses three primary approaches: fluorescent imaging, biochemistry, and small molecule discovery/use. Our mitosis projects currently focus on Xenopus egg extracts that recapitulate mitosis in vitro. We are using live imaging to probe the dynamics of microtubule and motor proteins in the spindle, and biochemistry to discover new components and probe the function of known components. Our long term goal is to discover how the spindle assembles and how chromosome move. Our actin work currently focuses on in vitro motility of a bacterial pathogen, Listeria. We are using biochemistry and imaging to try and determine the minimum set of proteins required for Listeria to move. From there, we plan to determine the biophysical mechanism of motility dependent on actin polymerization. Through the Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology (ICCB) we are screening for small molecules that perturb mitosis and cell movement, and using them in conjunction with imaging and biochemistry to probe molecular mechanism underlying cytoskeleton dynamics in cells and extracts.
Please see laboratory webpage for publications.
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