Tension-clock regulation of microtubule polymerisation state generates pseudo-periodic chromosome oscillations

Nigel Burroughs (University of Warwick)

Simon 4.05,

I will present our current understanding of the mechanical regulation processes that are responsible for the oscillatory dynamics of chromosomes across the metaphase plate. In an interdisciplinary project we have used mathematical modelling and computational statistics to understand high-resolution 3+1D imaging data tracking chromosome movements during metaphase of the (HeLA) cell division cycle. We used Bayesian MCMC techniques to fit a mechanical model to 1000s of chromosome trajectories providing a means to automatically detect directional switching points. By analysis of the inferred forces at switching events we propose that chromosome oscillations are regulated by aging of the attached microtubules (a clock) and adjustment of those clock rates by the tension in the centromeric spring connecting the two chromatids (effectively a sister-sister communication). Analysis of the oscillations of this system shows that it has 4 types of oscillatory states. I will discuss our preliminary findings on the phase diagram and bifurcations in this system, and discuss how noise is essential to obtain realistic switching choreographies. This is work in collaboration with Andrew McAinsh.

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