Centrioles and centrosome function.
Sir William Dunn School of Pathology
The main goal of our research is to understand how centrioles and centrosomes function at the molecular level. Centrosomes are the major microtubule (MT) organising centres in animal cells and they comprise a pair of centrioles surrounded by an amorphous Pericentriolar Matrix (PCM). Centrosomes are widely believed to play an important role in many aspects of cell organisation, including intracellular transport, cell movement, establishing and maintaining cell polarity and cell division. We have largely taken a reductionist approach to studying the centrosome. We identify individual centrosomal proteins and then use the powerful genetic, biochemical and cell biological tools available in Drosophila to analyse the function of these proteins and identify their interacting partners. We can then study the function of the human homologues of these proteins in human cells in culture. More recently, we have exploited Drosophila as a model system to study the potential role of centrosomes, asymmetric cell division and genetic instability in tumourigenesis. We hope that our studies will shed light on the roles of centrioles and centrosomes in health and disease and that they will identify new potential targets for anti-cancer therapies.