Protein inheritance in asymmetric cell division - Victoria Menéndez Benito

Our goal is to understand the principles of asymmetric cell division (ACD). By dividing asymmetrically, a cell can produce two cells with different fates from a common genetic blueprint. ACD is a universal strategy for cellular diversification in most organisms, ranging from bacteria to humans. ACD provides the basis for embryonic development, where different cell types need to arise from a single cell-the fertilised egg.

In adulthood, ACD helps to maintain the correct number of stem cells and prevent cancer and tissue degeneration. Therefore, understanding the general mechanisms of ACD is of great medical importance.

We use the model organism budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Budding yeasts divide asymmetrically to produce two cells (mother and bud) that differ in size, composition, and age. While the mother cell progressively ages with each division, the daughters are born with a full replicative lifespan. Thus, budding yeast offers a tractable system to study ACD and rejuvenation. Our strategy is to develop technology to birth-date and follow proteins overtime at single-cell resolution in combination with genome-wide approaches. Our main research lines are:  

  • Mapping the inheritance of the yeast proteome
  • Deciphering the mechanism of centrosome inheritance

Mapping the inheritance of the yeast proteome

A hallmark of ACD is the unequal segregation of cellular components between the two daughter cells. By doing so, cells propagate specific traits and fitness to individual progeny. However, we do not have a global view of which proteins are asymmetrically inherited and their link with cellular fitness. In this project, we aim to fill this gap of knowledge by mapping the inheritance of the complete proteome of budding yeast.

Deciphering the mechanism of centrosome inheritance

Each cell division, the centrosome duplicates to form the mitotic spindle that segregates the chromosomes. Centrosome duplication is a conservative process that generates two different centrosomes: one is old and the other is new. Interestingly, many asymmetrically dividing cells, including yeast and stem cells, segregate their centrosomes in an age-dependent manner. To explore the mechanisms of centrosome inheritance, we developed a method to label old/new centrosomes differentially. We are combining these tools with yeast genetics, microscopy, and mass spectrometry to identify regulators of centrosome inheritance.

Group members

Marjan Abbasi

PhD student

Prizes/Awards

  • 2018-2021 The Swedish Research Council (VR-NT), Project grant, ‘Mapping the inheritance of the yeast proteome to discover mechanisms of aging and rejuvenation´ (Reg no. 2017-04536)
  • 2018-2021 Doctoral grant (KID-funding) ‘Mapping the inheritance of the yeast proteome to discover mechanisms of ageing and rejuvenation’ (Reg no. 2018-00878)
  • 2015-2019 Doctoral grant (KID-funding) ‘Deciphering the role of centrosomes in asymmetric cell division’ (Reg no. 2-5586/2017)
  • 2017-2018 Carl Trygger Stiftelse, Project grant
  • 2015-2017 Åke Wiberg Stiftelse, Project grant
  • 2014-2018 The Swedish Research Council (VR-NT), Project Grant Junior Researcher
  • 2014-2018 Faculty funded Research Associate Position