We study the molecular mechanisms governing the function and inheritance of complex cellular organelles. In particular, we are investigating how the single mammalian Golgi apparatus is partitioned by the spindle apparatus in mitosis as well as the regulatory role of the Golgi in organizing polarity during cell migration.
Our long-term goal is to understand the mechanisms that regulate the mitotic division of the Golgi in mammalian cells.
As cells grow and divide, vital cellular structures including genetic material and cellular organelles need to be duplicated and partitioned between the two daughter cells. Accurate partitioning is crucial to sustain proper cellular functions since defects in mitosis can lead to loss of vital cellular structures. While the mechanism of chromosome segregation has been extensively studied, little is known about the inheritance of membrane-bound organelles.
Given that the Golgi is an essential cellular organelle, it needs to be inherited during mitosis to sustain cellular function over generations. To achieve faithful partitioning, the single copy of the Golgi ribbon is disassembled into vesicles in early mitosis, which upon cell division fuse to reform a functional Golgi in both daughter cells.