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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. 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.

Current research topics include:

  • Investigating the role of Mozart1 in Drosophila

  • Elucidating the mechanisms of microtubule assembly in neurons

  • Understanding how centrosomes nucleate microtubules

  • Investigating the spatial regulation of centrosome duplication

Key Publications

Mukherjee A and Conduit PT. (2019). γ-TuRCs (quick guide). Current Biology.

Tovey CA and Conduit PT. (2018). Microtubule nucleation by γ-tubulin complexes and beyond. Essays in Biochemistry.

Tovey CA, Tubman CE, Hamrud E, Zhu Z, Dyas AE, Butterfield AN, Fyfe A, Johnson E, Conduit PT. (2018). γ-TuRC heterogeneity revealed by analysis of Mozart1. Current Biology.

Conduit PT (2016). Microtubule organization: a complex solution. Journal of Cell Biology

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

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

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 Drosophila. eLife.

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.

Full publication list


Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Paul Conduit

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223  (3)34471

Group Members