When Cell Division Goes Wrong
itosis — the orderly process of cell division — is a complex sequence of events choreographed by different pieces of the cell’s machinery. One of the most critical is the centrosome, which is an organizing center for microtubules, hollow tubes that keep the cell’s shape intact and direct the movement of chromosomes as a cell splits in two. Normal cells contain a single centrosome, which is copied once per division cycle. In cancer cells, however, multiple centrosomes can emerge. Led by professor Ritu Aneja in the Aneja Lab, researchers are studying whether the presence of multiple centrosomes — or even a single centrosome that is abnormally large in structure — may be a biomarker for cancer. In this photo of an ovarian cancer cell, the cell nucleus appears blue, the microtubules are red and the centrosomes have been stained green. After staining tumor samples to make the centrosomes visible, the researchers can derive a so-called Centrosome Amplification Score, which could provide clinicians with more information about whether the cancer is likely to be aggressive or reoccur.
Image courtesy of Karuna Mittal