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Title: Regulation of centrosome size in Drosophila
Author: Conduit, P. T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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Centrosomes are the major microtubule (MT) organising centres in most animal cells, and MTs play essential roles in various cellular processes. Centrosomes generally comprise a pair of barrel shaped centrioles surrounded by an amorphous collection of proteins collectively known as the pericentriolar material (PCM). The centrioles are required to organise the PCM, and the PCM is responsible for organising the MTs. In this thesis, I show that the conserved Drosophila Centrosomin protein (Cnn) exhibits a unique dynamic behaviour as it is only incorporated into the PCM close to the centrioles. The rate of Cnn incorporation into the PCM helps determine centrosome size, and the localised dynamic behaviour of Cnn allows separating mother and daughter centrioles to organise independent Cnn domains. During the symmetric nuclear divisions of the early embryo, a difference in the timing of Cnn incorporation at mother and daughter centrioles leads to a centrosome size asymmetry, where mother centrioles always organise more Cnn than their daughters. In asymmetrically dividing larval neural stem cells, mother centrioles also initially organise more Cnn than their daughters. Unexpectedly, however, this asymmetry rapidly reverses, thus ensuring that neural stem cells actively retain their daughter centriole rather than an ‘immortal’ mother centriole. My findings provide a model for how centrosome size is set, and show how a centrosome size asymmetry can be generated even when mother and daughter centrioles appear structurally identical. Moreover, they show that an ‘immortal’ centrosome is not required for stem cell function in Drosophila neural stem cells.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available