The centrosome is a tiny cellular organ that helps organize chromosomes during cell division. It's also a signaling center for the cell, and as such is involved in the natural programmed cell death called apoptosis. In yet another role, the centrosome is important in setting up the two poles of the cell during mitosis, when cells segregate their chromosomal material and divide. Both these functions, when disrupted, can cause disease.
Dynamin-2 is an enzyme that helps cells form vesicles used to internalize agents from the cell's external environment. Through a series of laboratory manipulations of mammalian cells that included disrupting the centrosome, the research team was able to demonstrate that Dynamin-2 is a normal and necessary component of the centrosome. "When we reduced the levels of dynamin in cells, this led to an impairment of the centrosome," Dr. McNiven explains. The researchers also identified the part of Dynamin-2 that connects it to the centrosome. On the centrosome, they identified the part that recruits and binds Dynamin-2. "As a result of all this investigation, we now know that Dynamin-2 is vital to normal cell structure and organization," Dr. McNiven says.
The next step is to learn more about the relationship and roles of this partnership. Says Dr. McNiven: "Is the enzymatic activity of Dynamin-2 important in this process? How is it regulated? How does it affect the cell cycle? All these are great questions that will enable