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Title: Mathematical modelling of Centrosomin incorporation in Drosophila centrosomes
Author: Bakshi, Suruchi D.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Centrosomin (Cnn) is an integral centrosomal protein in Drosophila with orthologues in several species, including humans. The human orthologue of Cnn is required for brain development with Cnn hypothesised to play a similar role in Drosophila. Control of Cnn incorporation into centrosomes is crucial for controlling asymmetric division in certain types of Drosophila stem cells. FRAP experiments on Cnn show that Cnn recovers in a pe- culiar fashion, which suggest that Cnn may be incorporated closest to the centrioles and then spread radially outward, either diffusively or ad- vectively. The aim of this thesis is to understand the mechanism of Cnn incorporation into the Drosophila centrosomes, to determine the mode of transport of the incorporated Cnn, and to obtain parameter estimates for transport and biochemical reactions. A crucial unknown in the modelling process is the distribution of Cnn receptors. We begin by constructing coupled partial differential equation models with either diffusion or advection as the mechanism for incorpo- rated Cnn transport. The simplest receptor distribution we begin with involves a spherical, infinitesimally thick, impermeable shell. We refine the diffusion models using the insights gained from comparing the model out- put with data (gathered during mitosis) and through careful assessment of the behaviour of the data. We show that a Gaussian receptor distribution is necessary to explain the Cnn FRAP data and that the data cannot be explained by other simpler receptor distributions. We predict the exact form of the receptor distribution through data fitting and present pre- liminary experimental results from our collaborators that suggest that a protein called DSpd2 may show a matching distribution. Not only does this provide strong experimental support for a key prediction from our model, but it also suggests that DSpd2 acts as a Cnn receptor. We also show using the mitosis FRAP data that Cnn does not exhibit appreciable radial movement during mitosis, which precludes the use of these data to distinguish between diffusive and advective transport of Cnn. We use long time Cnn FRAP data gathered during S-phase for this purpose. We fit the S-phase FRAP data using the DSpd2 profiles gath- ered for time points corresponding to the Cnn FRAP experiments. We also use data from FRAP experiments where colchicine is injected into the embryos to destroy microtubules (since microtubules are suspected to play a role in advective transport of Cnn). From the analysis of all these data we show that Cnn is transported in part by advection and in part by diffusion. Thus, we are able to provide the first mechanistic description of the Cnn incorporation process. Further, we estimate parameters from the model fitting and predict how some of the parameters may be altered as nuclei progress from S-phase to mitosis. We also generate testable predic- tions regarding the control of the Cnn incorporation process. We believe that this work will be useful to understand the role of Cnn incorporation in centrosome function, particularly in asymmetrically dividing stem cells.
Supervisor: Maini, Philip; Gaffney, Eamonn; Baker, Ruth; Fletcher, Alexander Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biology and other natural sciences (mathematics) ; Mathematical biology ; Centrosomin ; Cnn ; Drosophila ; diffusion ; advection ; Green's function