Former MDX post-doc Jonas Dorn headed a collaborative project that led to the development of an in silico model of the cytokinetic contractile ring. Jian Liu at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (at the NIH) created the theoretical model. Former aMDX research assistant Li Zhang performed the lion’s share of the quantitative cell biology.
Summary: Furrow ingression is asymmetric in cytokinesis in the Caenorhabditis elegans zygote. A combination of quantitative high-resolution live-cell microscopy and theoretical modeling revealed a mechanistic basis for asymmetry: feedback among membrane curvature, cytoskeletal alignment, and contractility. The model also suggests that asymmetry promotes energy efficiency.
Former MDX post-doc Benjamin Lacroix discovered that microtubules can change growth speed mid-growth excursion. His development of the uterine muscle cells as an in situ cell biological system made this discovery possible and immediately put it in an in vivo context.
Summary: Live imaging of microtubule dynamics in Caenorhabditis elegans muscle cells reveals a novel microtubule behavior characterized by an abrupt change in growth rate, named “microtubule growth deceleration.” The conserved protein ZYG-9-TOGp and two novel ORFs, cylc-1 and cylc-2, are involved in the regulation of this novel microtubule behavior.