Mitosis and meiosis are fundamental cellular processes required for the correct transmission of genetic material during cell division cycles. Centromeres are key regions of eukaryotic chromosomes where the kinetochore assembles to ensure proper chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis.
However, despite its essential function, centromere identity is not defined by DNA sequence, but is instead determined epigenetically by the presence of a centromere-specific histone variant CENP-A. During mitosis, errors in CENP-A assembly result in genome instability and aneuploidy, both hallmarks of cancer. Yet the roles and regulation of CENP-A assembly in meiosis are at present largely unknown.
Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model developmental system, I aim to investigate the function, cell cycle timing and regulation of CENP-A assembly during male and female gametogenesis.
A major focus of my research is to determine how CENP-A is maintained on sperm and if the inheritance of paternal CENP-A is important for centromere function and genome stability in the developing zygote.