Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Go, No Go

Greater understanding of cell division by following CDK molecules in living cells

22 April 2021

Go, No Go

The most important decision a cell has to make is whether to divide or not. Cells must divide at the right time and in the right place to build an organism as it develops and keep it healthy. But dividing too much can lead to cancer. Molecules called cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) are key players in the decision to divide. To find out more about their role in cell division, scientists have developed a technique for visualising the levels of CDKs in living cells using coloured fluorescent markers. By watching these markers change in a zebrafish eye (green and pink spiral in the centre of this composite image) and various developmental stages of tiny nematode worms (arranged around the outside), they’ve found that cells that still have high CDK activity after they’ve just divided are more likely to divide again, providing new insights into how this vital decision is made.

Written by Kat Arney

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