Sep 08, 2021 9:00 AM

Read time: 2 minutes

photo of abscission checkpoint bodies under microscope
Abscission Checkpoint Bodies

Many cells in our bodies divide regularly and make new cells. During that process, DNA in the cell must be accurately replicated and then packaged into the new cell. Even though there are safeguards to prevent errors, they do occur. If faulty cells divide and replicate, cancer may develop.

Cells have quality controls, or checkpoints, to keep mistakes from happening. One of the very last steps in cell division is a quality control process called the abscission checkpoint. If that checkpoint doesn’t work, cells divide even with mistakes present. This contributes to a higher risk of several kinds of cancer. Collaborative research recently published in eLife from the Ullman Lab and Sundquist Lab looks at how the abscission checkpoint functions.

“Our research was aimed at addressing how the abscission checkpoint prevents a cell from completing the process of cell division,” says Katharine S. Ullman, PhD. “If we know how this regulation works, then we can begin to understand how events go wrong when the abscission checkpoint is impaired.”

Using human cells, researchers in the Ullman and Sundquist Labs created an experimental system where formation of nuclei is disrupted. These mistakes resulted in an active abscission checkpoint. Cells were then imaged to see how the normal process of cell division was altered. They found specific components were rerouted—instead of going to the zone between cells where membrane cutting (or abscission) takes place, these components went to structures that were described for the first time in this study, and named abscission checkpoint bodies (ACBs).

“At a basic level, we understand an important cellular process better than we did before,” Wesley I. Sundquist, PhD says. “These findings open an avenue of research that may help us learn how some cancers begin or become more aggressive, and of course learning more about cancer pathways offers the potential to find new ways to identify and treat cancer.”

cancer research cell response and regulation

Cancer touches all of us.

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