Characterization of a kinase implicated in kinetochore function during S phase

Chromosomes, which are a compacted form of DNA, must be accurately duplicated and separated into two new daughter cells during each cell cycle. Genetic instability arises when chromosomes are separated improperly. This error is the source of many diseases, such as cancer and Down’s syndrome. Accurate chromosome separation relies on machinery assembled on each chromosome called the kinetochore. The regulation of the kinteochore is essential for cellular fitness and prevention of genetic instability. Understanding the mechanism by which the kinetochore is regulated will lead to a better view of cellular division and will provide insight into the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Because chromosome separation is a fundamental cellular process in all types of cells, Jennifer McQueen is using budding yeast as a model to study chromosome segregation. She is using many genetic and biochemical tools to examine the involvement of the Mck1 kinase in chromosome separation. Her project aims to discover a new role for the Mck1 kinase in kinetochore function and to produce a new model of kinteochore regulation that is applicable to human health.