Department of Genetics

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Robert Ruggiero Paper Published in PLoS Genetics

The research suggests links between the stability of neurons, the specialized cells that conduct electrical signals in our nervous systems, and which generally never divide after taking up their positions, with neurodegenerative disease. Mutations were found in three genes leading to cell cycle re-entry by neurons in the fruitfly eye. Strikingly, these neurons do not divide completely, but only divide their nuclei within the single cell. Unexpectedly, the neurons then transport one of their two nuclei into the growing axon. The findings identify Cyclin A regulation as crucial to maintaining cell cycle exit by at least some neurons, and a neuron-specific defect in cell division as a further barrier to neuron proliferation. Because defects in transporting axonal material have been implicated in the origin of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, the findings also suggest a possible connection between defective cell cycle regulation and neuronal cell death.
The full citation and link to the online version of the paper are:
Mitosis in Neurons: Roughex and APC/C Maintain Cell Cycle Exit to Prevent Cytokinetic and Axonal Defects in Drosophila Photoreceptor Neurons
Ruggiero, R., Kale, A., Thomas, B., and N. E. Baker
PLoS Genetics 8 e1003049 2012

Rob's Paper

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