Microtubule (MT) steers a wide range of fundamental cellular activities by firmly anchoring at the centrosome, which consists of a pair of centrioles and surrounding pericentriolar material (PCM). Lack of the firm MT anchoring can result in genetic disorders including microcephaly and muscular dystrophy. It is at the PCM where MT anchoring occurs. By electron microscopy, the PCM appears as electron-dense structure without encircling membrane around. Nonetheless, hundreds of proteins are enriched at the PCM without getting disintegrated. It has been proposed that these proteins may form “condensates” to cause phase separation in the cytoplasm to form the PCM, although the precise molecular mechanism is largely unknown. We have developed a unique model system using fission yeast where only two proteins can constitute functional PCM. By exploiting this system, together with single molecule analyses and structural biology approaches, we aim to reveal the fundamental molecular basis of MT anchoring mechanism.
Academic entry requirements: UK Bachelor Degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.