Department of Cell Biology



Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Chanin Bldg., Room 416

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The Centromere and alpha satellite DNA and the tau protein
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    The Centromere and alpha satellite DNA and the tau protein

The centromere is a critical element of all mammalian chromosomes. It controls chromosome segregation and damage to the centromere results in aneuploidy. Aneuploidy is a principal factor in miscarriages in of births in women with aneuploidy occurring in half of embryonic miscarriages and 25% of all types of miscarriages. Alpha satellite DNA sequences are located at all centromeres and play an important role in the organization of the centromere. These are repeated sequences which have been difficult to study until recently. We are able to use the single molecule approach we have developed to study the replication of this satellite DNA in individual human chromosomes. It has been shown that the tau protein which plays a major role in Alzheimer's disease interacts with alpha satellite DNA and we are carrying out studies to understand the importance of this interaction .