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Understanding the coordination between mitosis and cell polarity in Drosophila (COMITPOL)
Start date: Jan 1, 2012, End date: Jan 26, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Shaping the tissues that make an organism requires a tight control of cell division and mechanisms that spatially distribute signalling cues and adhesive structures within single cells. Although cell division and polarity have been extensively studied, how these processes are coordinated is largely unknown.The primary goal of this project is to understand the link between regulation of mitotic cell division and the organization of polarity at the organism level. First, we will use the Drosophila follicle epithelium to set up an in vivo model to address with high temporal resolution how the evolutionary conserved polarity complexes are remodelled at the cell cortex during mitosis in epithelia. We will then characterize the specific function of distinct types of mitotic proteins (Polo, Aurora A, BubR1 and Ndc80) in the organization of the follicle epithelium polarity and architecture, and in germline stem cell asymmetric division. The study in the follicle epithelium will contribute for the understanding of the mechanisms that coordinate the establishment of a mitotic spindle with changes in cortical polarity. In addition, the comparison between these two contexts with distinct cellular features will elucidate the specific requirements of the different mitotic genes.Misregulation of cell division and loss of epithelial organization are a hallmark of cancer. We will therefore test the interaction between polarity proteins and cell cycle regulators to explore new hypothesis for tumour progression. For this purpose, we will determine the ability to overproliferate, invade and metastasize of tissues where we simultaneously interfered with mitosis and polarity. Thus, this work will have implications for human disease, shedding light on the mechanisms of tumorigenesis."
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