Michael Blower Laboratory

Localization of RNAs to specific locations within cells and embryos regulates embryonic patterning, cell fate specification, cell motility, and cell division. Most localized RNAs are transported to their ultimate destination through the action of molecular motor proteins that move along cytoskeletal filaments. Interestingly, RNA is not localized to cytoskeletal filaments solely as passive cargo, but plays an active — translation independen t— role in mitotic spindle assembly.

The Blower lab is interested in the intersection of microtubules, RNA, and mitosis. The primary focus is on understanding four major areas of RNA localization during mitosis:

  1. What are the cis acting sequences and trans-acting proteins that recognize, transport, and anchor localized RNAs to microtubules during mitosis?
  2. How does localization of specific mRNAs to microtubules affect mitosis and development?
  3. Are noncoding RNAs localized to spindle microtubules? And if so, do microtubules regulate their biogenesis? Or do ncRNAs regulate the expression of spindle-localized mRNAs?
  4. How does RNA regulate the assembly of a functional mitotic spindle? Does RNA play a structural or catalytic role in microtubule organization?

About Mike Blower

Mike Blower attended Miami University (in Ohio, not Florida) where he received a BA in Microbiology. He attended graduate school at the university of California, San Diego, where he worked with Gary Karpen at the Salk Institute studying the function of the centromeric Histone H3 variant (Cid). 

He then moved to the University of California, Berkeley where he was a postdoc with Karsten Weis and Rebecca Heald studying the role of Rae1 in chromatin-mediated spindle assembly, and later the localization of mRNA to mitotic microtubules. Mike started up his lab at MGH in September of 2006. He seriously misses winter in California.