How does a cell determine when and where it will divide?
How does a cell successfully complete cytokinesis?
What happens when cytokinesis fails?
This movie shows a Xenopus laevis embryo expressing a probe for active Rho. Active Rho accumulates at the division site prior to cytokinesis and remains focused in the cleavage furrow throughout cytokinesis.
These are the broad questions that our lab seeks to understand. The final step of cell division where one cell separates into two is known as cytokinesis. The importance of cytokinesis is evident throughout life: it drives development and helps maintain adult tissues, while failures in cytokinesis can promote tumor formation. Therefore, cytokinesis must be carefully regulated in space and time to ensure that the cleavage furrow is positioned properly and that chromosomes and organelles are distributed equally to each daughter cell. Despite the biological and clinical importance of cytokinesis, many aspects of its regulation remain poorly understood. In the Miller Lab, we are investigating how the small GTPase Rho regulates cytokinesis normally and how the Rho signaling pathway may become mis-regulated in cancers. Our work is carried out in the context of an intact epithelium using Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog) embryos as a model system.