Simple Chromosome Partitioning Mechanisms and Dynamics of a Mitotic Spindle.
(Beware of the unusual location)
François Nédélec (Cambridge University)
We are using theory to explore simple mechanisms of chromosome partitioning with the aim of understanding the design principles of mitotic spindle assembly. Firstly, I will present how artificial evolution in a computer can uncover simple combinations of cytoskeletal elements that will self-organize to pull on a kinetochore pair symmetrically and reliably. I will then discuss the requirements to extend such elementary mechanisms to build a mitotic spindle that can handle multiple chromosomes. Secondly, I will present the characteristics of the mitotic spindles found in the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, and argue that given these quantities, this plant spindle stands out as an ideal subject to build a quantitatively accurate 3D simulation. I will present our attempts to build such a model, detailing some key assumptions and using a simulation to illustrate the remarkable dynamics of a metaphase mitotic spindle.