George von Dassow

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All insects possess homologous segments, but segment specification differs radically among insect orders. In Drosophila, maternal morphogens control the patterned activation of gap genes, which encode transcriptional regulators that shape the patterned expression of pair-rule genes. This patterning cascade takes place before cellularization. Pair-rule gene(More)
Actin filaments (F-actin) are protein polymers that undergo rapid assembly and disassembly and control an enormous variety of cellular processes ranging from force production to regulation of signal transduction. Consequently, imaging of F-actin has become an increasingly important goal for biologists seeking to understand how cells and tissues function.(More)
During vertebrate cell division, chromosomes oscillate with periods of smooth motion interrupted by abrupt reversals in direction. These oscillations must be spatially constrained in order to align and segregate chromosomes with high fidelity, but the molecular mechanism for this activity is uncertain. We report here that the human kinesin-8 Kif18A has a(More)
Robustness is the invariance of phenotypes in the face of perturbation. The robustness of phenotypes appears at various levels of biological organization, including gene expression, protein folding, metabolic flux, physiological homeostasis, development, and even organismal fitness. The mechanisms underlying robustness are diverse, ranging from(More)
The formation of the dorsal-ventral axis in Xenopus laevis is elicited by a signaling cascade on the dorsal side of the embryo initiated by cortical rotation. These early developmental events impart an initial axial polarity to the embryo. By the time gastrulation occurs, the embryo has established opposing dorsal and ventral regulatory regions. Through a(More)
Cytokinesis in animal cells results from the assembly and constriction of a circumferential array of actin filaments and myosin-2. Microtubules of the mitotic apparatus determine the position at which the cytokinetic actomyosin array forms, but the molecular mechanisms by which they do so remain unknown. The small GTPase RhoA has previously been implicated(More)
MCAK is a member of the kinesin-13 family of microtubule (MT)-depolymerizing kinesins. We show that the potent MT depolymerizer MCAK tracks (treadmills) with the tips of polymerizing MTs in living cells. Tip tracking of MCAK is inhibited by phosphorylation and is dependent on the extreme COOH-terminal tail of MCAK. Tip tracking is not essential for MCAK's(More)
Here we describe a software tool for synthesizing molecular genetic data into models of genetic networks. Our software program Ingeneue, written in Java, lets the user quickly turn a map of a genetic network into a dynamical model consisting of a set of ordinary differential equations. We developed Ingeneue as part of an ongoing effort to explore the design(More)
Mitotic centromere-associated kinesin (MCAK)/Kif2C is the most potent microtubule (MT)-destabilizing enzyme identified thus far. However, MCAK's function at the centromere has remained mechanistically elusive because of interference from cytoplasmic MCAK's global regulation of MT dynamics. In this study, we present MCAK chimeras and mutants designed to(More)
The Rho GTPases-Rho, Rac and Cdc42-act as molecular switches, cycling between an active GTP-bound state and an inactive GDP-bound state, to regulate the actin cytoskeleton. It has recently become apparent that the Rho GTPases can be activated in subcellular zones that appear semi-stable, yet are dynamically maintained. These Rho GTPase activity zones are(More)