A living cell. Chromosomes (shown in pink) are shared by the spindle (blue). Membranes (green) are a risk factor for correct chromosome sharing. Credit: University of Warwick
For the first time, a new study from the University of Warwick sheds light on a fundamental factor in cancer genesis during cell division (or mitosis).
The two daughter cells receive an equal number of copies of each chromosome when a cell splits appropriately. The mitotic spindle, an intricate cellular machine, performs this task. If something goes wrong at this step, the two new cells will be aneuploid, which means they will make mistakes when transferring genetic information since they will not have the necessary amount of chromosomes..
Understanding how and why cancer cells become aneuploid is critical to discovering the disease’s origins. Warwick Medical School’s study team led by Professor Stephen Royle has discovered just what you’re talking about.
Cell division abnormalities can be caused by the loss of certain chromosomes, which can get caught in a tangle of membrane that surrounds the cell spindle.
A “surgery” on living cells is how they discovered their findings. The spindle was able to free the chromosomes from their tangle of membranes, allowing healthy cell division to resume. The researchers credited the spindle with saving the chromosomes.
A direct link between chromosomes trapped in these membranes and the creation of malignant cells has been established for the first time. A better understanding of this risk can help in the fight against cancer.
Stephen Royle, a Warwick Medical School professor of cell biology, made the following observation: “There is a lot of interest in the spindle and how it operates, as well as why spindle errors occur in cancer. We switched the focus of our research in this publication to the membranes found within proliferating cells.”
The study’s lead author, Dr. Nuria Ferrandiz, said, “This is a tragedy for dividing cells, as we discovered that chromosomes can get stuck in membranes when the cell divides. Can transform a healthy cell into a cancerous one? Disease may be treated by preventing this process from occurring.”
In the Journal of Cell Biology, the study was published.
Further information: Nuria Ferrandiz et al, Endomembranes promote chromosome missegregation by ensheathing misaligned chromosomes, Journal of Cell Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1083/jcb.202203021
Journal information: Journal of Cell Biology
Source: University of Warwick