The role of microtubule pivoting in formation of complex structures such as microtubule bundles and mitotic spindles - project funded by the UKF

Project summary:

During cell division, the genetic material is divided into two equal parts by the mitotic spindle. This complex dynamic micro-machine is made of microtubules, chromosomes and a variety of accessory proteins. Microtubules extending from one centrosome bind to those from the other centrosome by motors and other cross-linking proteins, forming bundles that connect the centrosomes and the associated microtubules into the spindle. A central question is how microtubules extending from the centrosomes find each other and interact to assemble the spindle. Based on our previous study on how microtubules find chromosomes (Kalinina et al., 2013), we hypothesize that the angular movement of microtubules is crucial for them to find each other. Further, we hypothesize that the microtubules encounter each other at an angle, and that specific cross-linking proteins are required to align the microtubules into anti-parallel bundles, thereby assembling the spindle. The aim of the project is to develop a theoretical model of spindle assembly, which will include the angular movement of microtubules around the spindle pole. Our model, in combination with experiments, will elucidate whether the process of spindle assembly can be explained by the observed angular movement of the microtubules.
This project is planned as close collaboration between the Pavin and Tolic-Norrelykke groups. Nenad Pavin, at the Faculty of Science of the University of Zagreb, will take responsibility for the theory part, including supervision of two PhD students on this project. Iva Tolic-Norrelykke, at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), will take responsibility for the experiments, including supervision of one PhD student on this project.

Duration and value: October 2013 - October 2015; 1.110.036,00 HRK

Composition of the research group:

Theory Experiments
Nenad Pavin, principal investigator Iva Tolic, co-principal investigator
Marcel Prelogovic, PhD student Lora Winters, PhD student
Maja Novak, PhD student


Date Activity
October 15, 2013 The UKF Grant Agreement 18/13 signed
October 30, 2013 Iva Tolic visited Zagreb for one week.
November 23, 2013 Iva Tolic visited Zagreb for one week.
December 3, 2013 PhD student - Marcel Prelogovic - hired
December 11, 2013 The UKF Grant Award Ceremony at the Ministry of Science Education and Sports
January-February, 2014 Nenad Pavin and Marcel Prelogovic visited Dresden
March 29, 2014 Nenad Pavin visited Dresden for one week
May 6, 2014 PhD student - Maja Novak - hired
May 7, 2014 The secretariat of the UKF Fund visited the project as part of regular monitoring
July 28, 2014 We have extended the project proposal by added value. We also plan to investigate the force balance in mammalian spindles.
September 26, 2014 At the European Researchers' Night 2014 in Zagreb shopping center Avenue Mall
we presented the Eureka Module "Istrazivanje tajni zivota"
November 15-23, 2014 Nenad Pavin, Maja Novak and Marcel Prelogovic visited Dresden
February 18, 2015 The paper supported by the UKF 'Kinesin-8 Motors Improve Nuclear Centering by Promoting Microtubule Catastrophe' Gluncic et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 078103 (2015) is published
October 3, 2015 Marcel Prelogovic visited Dresden
November 4, 2015 World Bank representatives visited the project.
January 5, 2016 The paper funded by the UKF 'Overlap microtubules link sister k-fibers and balance the forces on bioriented kinetochores' Kajtez et al., Nat. Commun. 7, 10298 (2016). is published
Design by Ivana Šarić