Eduardo M. Torres
The genome of every organism is composed of a set number of chromosomes that remains constant through life. Sophisticated mechanisms have evolved to supervise and maintain a constant number of chromosomes during cell division. Despite these mechanisms, mistakes occur where cells either lose or gain a copy of a chromosome. Cells that acquire an abnormal number of chromosomes are referred to as aneuploids. Aneuploidy is usually incompatible with life and is the major cause of spontaneous abortions. Paradoxically, almost all human cancer cells, which grow uncontrollably, are aneuploid. Therefore, it is of great importance to study the effects of aneuploidy in cells. To that end, we have chosen to study aneuploidy in budding yeast. Yeast has 16 chromosomes and can be engineered to become aneuploid by gaining an extra chromosome. We created several yeast strains, each having an extra copy a given chromosome and characterized them. We showed that aneuploid cells grow slow and show signs of problems regulating the productions of proteins within the cells. Our goal is to characterize how cellular protein composition is affected by aneuploidy and to understand how mutation in genes that regulate cellular protein composition affect aneuploid cells. Our studies may lead to new biomarkers of aneuploidy and may help the development of new therapies targeted to aneuploid cancer cells.