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Microtubule formation in Drosophila
Our work addresses how microtubule formation is regulated in space and time. Microtubules are dynamic polymers that make up part of the cell's cytoskeleton. They form a spectacular variety of different arrays within cells and the type of array that forms depends on the type of cell and on what that cell needs to do at a particular time. For example, when a cell needs to divide the microtubules are arranged into a mitotic spindle, which functions to separate the duplicated chromosomes. Whereas in non-dividing neurons, microtubules run through axons and dendrites and are required to transport important molecules between the cell body and the neurite terminals.
growing microtubule
diagram of a growing microtubule
Cells control the type of microtubule array that forms largely by regulating when and where new microtubules form, and they do this using highly conserved multi-protein complexes called gamma-tubulin ring complexes (gamma-TuRCs). Gamma-TuRCs are recruited and anchored to discrete sites within the cell called microtubule organising centres (MTOCs) and here they catalyse the formation of new microtubules. We aim to understand how gamma-TuRCs assemble and how they are recruited to different MTOCs in different cells at different times. To do this we combine powerful genetic manipulation with live cell imaging of fluorescently-tagged proteins in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Our work has important implications for cancer, as gamma-TuRCs have recently been identified as potential anti-cancer targets.
diagram of a gamma-TuRC


Re-examining the role of Drosophila Sas-4 in centrosome assembly using two-colour-3D-SIM FRAP. Conduit PT, Wainman A,  Novak ZA, Raff JW. (2015). eLife DOI:

Conduit PT, Wainman A,  Raff JW. (2015). Centrosome function and assembly in animal cells. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, doi:10.1038/nrm4062.

Conduit PT and Raff JW. (2015). Different Drosophila cell types exhibit important differences in mitotic centrosome assembly dynamics. Current Biology, 25: pR650-R651.

Conduit PT, Hayward D, Wakefield JG (2015). Microinjection techniques for studying centrosome function in Drosophila melanogaster syncytial embryos. Methods Cell Biol. 2015;129:229-49. doi:10.1016/bs.mcb.2015.03.007.

Conduit PT, Richens JH, Wainman A, Holder J, Vicente CC, Pratt MB, Dix CI, Novak ZA, Dobbie I, Schermelleh L, Raff JW. (2014). A molecular mechanism of mitotic centrosome assembly in DrosophilaeLife doi:10.7554/eLife.03399.

Conduit PT, Feng V, Richens JH, Baumbach J, Wainman A, Bakshi SD, Dobbelaere J, Johnson S, Lea SM, Raff JW. (2014). The centrosome specific phosphorylation of Cnn by Polo/Plk1 drives Cnn scaffold assembly and centrosome maturation. Developmental Cell 28: 659-669.

Conduit PT. (2013). The dominant force of Centrobin in centrosome asymmetry. Nature Cell Biology. 15: 235-237.

Conduit PT and Raff JW. (2010). Cnn dynamics drive centrosome size asymmetry to ensure daughter centriole retention in Drosophila neuroblasts. Current Biology. 20: 2187-2192.

Conduit PT, Brunk K, Dobbelaere J, Dix CI, Lucas EP, Raff JW. (2010). Centrioles regulate centrosome size by controlling the rate of Cnn incorporation into the PCM. Current Biology. 20: 2178-2186.


Dr Paul T Conduit


Department of Zoology

University of Cambridge

Downing Street





Office: 0044 1223 334471

Lab: 0044 1223 334475