The proteins that pull your cells apart


World-first mitosis map shows the mechanics of cell division.


An animation tracking the actions of five different proteins involved in cells division: AURKB (red), NUP107 (green), CENPA (purple), CEP192 (yellow), and TUBB4B (cyan).
An animation tracking the actions of five different proteins involved in cells division: AURKB (red), NUP107 (green), CENPA (purple), CEP192 (yellow), and TUBB4B (cyan).
Arina Rybina and Julius Hossain, Ellenberg group, EMBL

Researchers have created the first interactive map showing the actions of the proteins that govern the process of cell division, a process known as mitosis.

The map, published in the journal Nature, builds on a 2010 study by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) – a research institute comprising specialists from 25 countries, with facilities in Germany, Spain, Italy and France – which identified which parts of the human genome are required for a human cell to divide.

The latest work, by the same team, drills down to another level. Cells don’t run on genomic DNA, but on the proteins encoded by it. The map tracks five of the proteins critical to the process of mitosis.

“Until now, individual labs have mostly been looking at single proteins in living cells," says EMBL’s Jan Ellenberg.

“Supported by the follow-up European Union project MitoSys we were now able to take a systems approach, and look at the bigger picture by studying the dynamic networks many proteins form in living human cells.”

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0518-z
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature08869
  3. https://www.embl.org/
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