April 11, 2018

DFG Grant awarded to Alex Bird

The DFG has approved a Research Grant for Alex Bird’s project “Molecular basis of clathrin mediated stabilization of microtubules for chromosome segregation”. The project will be funded by a total amount of 421.350 Euro for the next three years. The Bird lab plans to combine cell biology and protein biochemistry/reconstitution aspects to address a fundamental question: How is microtubule stabilization during mitosis regulated in cells?

The accurate segregation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division is essential to organismal development and life. Slight errors in this process can have serious consequences for the cell, often leading to cell death. Even worse, missegregation of chromosomes may lead to viable aneuploidy or DNA damage, both of which can facilitate tumour development. Indeed, most tumours have dramatically elevated errors in chromosome segregation, leading to an increased rate of gain or loss of whole chromosomes, a state termed “chromosomal instability” or “CIN”.
The Bird lab recently discovered a microtubule stabilizing protein, GTSE1, that can influence CIN. The scientists identified its stabilization mechanism and the impact of its often-seen deregulation in cancer cells on CIN.

Based on this work the Bird lab wants to investigate the mechanism by which clathrin facilitates microtubule stabilization, leading to deeper insights into the regulation of chromosome segregation and its deregulation in cancer.


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