Published: 27-02-2014 19:00 | Updated: 27-02-2014 20:32

Moving snapshots give new insight on cell division

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a method that allows sorting pictures of cells in a way that they can be viewed as a movie. By using this method, the researchers show that cell division is initiated several hours before a cell actually divides. This finding can provide leads for the development of anti-cancer drugs that suppress cell division.

The general principles of cell divisions are well explored, however, less is known about how this cell division is originally initiated. The problem researchers are facing is that one of the best methods used to look at cell division only gives a snapshot of individual cells, with little information on how far from cell division these cells in fact are. In a study published in the journal Molecular Cell, a research group led by Arne Lindqvist at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, presents a new method to sort snapshots of different cells so that they can be played as a movie.

“This method allows us to follow dynamic changes over time”, says Arne Lindqvist. “What we see then, is that the molecular machinery that starts cell division is activated as soon as the DNA of a cell is copied. This in turn has implications for how we picture that the decision to divide is made.”

In cancer, cells divide more than they should. The better researchers understand the mechanisms of how the cell starts to divide, the better they can envision means to prevent cell division in cancer tumors. The current research at Karolinska Institutet was funded with grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.


Assessing Kinetics from Fixed Cells Reveals Activation of the Mitotic Entry Network at the S/G2 Transition
Karen Akopyan, Helena Silva Cascales, Elvira Hukasova, Adrian T. Saurin, Erik Müllers, Himjyot Jaiswal, Danielle Hollman, Geert J.P.L. Kops, René H. Medema, and Arne Lindqvist
Molecular Cell, publishing in Volume: 53; Issue: 5, March 6, 2014, online 27 February 2014