Iain M. Cheeseman
Molecular Dissection of the Human Kinetochore-Chromatin Interface
Chromosome segregation during mitosis requires a large proteinaceous structure termed the kinetochore to generate attachments between chromosomal DNA and spindle microtubule polymers. The kinetochore is composed of more than 80 different proteins which function together to direct kinetochore assembly, generate dynamic connections with spindle microtubules, and regulate chromosome segregation. Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular basis of kinetochore function in human cells. We use parallel biochemical and cell biological approaches to examine kinetochore composition, structure, organization, regulation, and how kinetochore proteins function to achieve proper chromosome segregation.
Kinetochore ProteomicsWe have developed an affinity tagging strategy (the Localization and Affinity Purification — LAP Tag) that facilitates both the cell biological and biochemical analysis of proteins in human tissue culture cells. Using this tag, we are conducting proteomics of human kinetochores to identify new human kinetochore proteins, and to define the organization of kinetochore components in biochemically defined sub-complexes.
Kinetochore RegulationIn addition to identifying new proteins, we are using the mass spectrometry-based analysis of kinetochore proteins to map post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation. We are identifying an extensive collection of phosphorylation sites present in human kinetochore proteins. We are currently working to determine which protein kinases are responsible for targeting these different sites, and to examine the physiological consequences of phosphorylation on protein activities in vitro, and chromosome segregation and kinetochore function in cells.