Aaron F. Straight
Associate Professor of BiochemistryDepartment of Biochemistry
279 Campus Drive
Beckman Center B-409
Chromosome Structure; RNA Directed Chromatin Modification; Chromosome Segregation; Centromere and Kinetochore Assembly. Our work is directed at understanding the mechanisms that ensure high fidelity genome maintenance and segregation in eukaryotes. We use a wide variety of experimental systems ranging from yeasts and flies to frogs and humans in order to address biophysical, biochemical and cell biological questions in chromosome biology. We are particularly interested in how cells accurately segregate chromosomes to daughter cells during mitosis and meiosis to produce viable daughters and gametes so that an organism can grow, develop and proliferate. Our research has focused on understanding how the chromosomal centromere and kinetochore function to link the chromosomes to the mitotic spindle that segregates chromosomes during division. We are also interested in how chromosomes are organized within the interphase nucleus and mitotic chromosome so that the genome can be actively transcribed, replicated and segregated and yet accurately maintained and packaged within the nucleus and cell. We use a wide variety of experimental systems. In addition to various cell cultures, we use a frog egg extract system to study the mitotic spindle in vitro. We induce female frogs (Xenopus laevis) to lay eggs, then collect the eggs and crush them in a centrifuge. This produces egg extract, which we can manipulate in a variety of ways to produce mitotic spindles.
Lab MembershipsStraight Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)