Investigating the role of EML4-ALK fusion proteins in mitotic progression of non-small cell lung cancer

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour


EML4-ALK variant 3 binds and stabilises microtubules. It also recruits the mitotic kinases, NEK9 and NEK7, to microtubules and there are multiple studies to show that these kinases influence microtubule organization, e.g. through phosphorylation of Eg5. Hence, we hypothesise that lung cancer cells expressing EML4-ALK V3, but not V1, exhibit altered mitotic spindle organization, mitotic progression and, potentially, SAC control. This could render them sensitive to anti-mitotic therapeutics.

The aim of this project is to test the hypothesis that cells expressing EML4-ALK variant 3 exhibit altered sensitivity to anti-mitotic therapeutic agents as a result of perturbed mitotic progression. This will be investigated by:

Examining the localisation in interphase and mitosis of EML4-ALK variant 3
Examining mitotic spindle organisation and potential centrosome amplification in cells expressing EML4-ALK variant 3
Examining whether the expression of EML4-ALK variants alters integrity of the spindle assembly checkpoint


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 30/09/2015 31/03/2024
1898566 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2017 31/12/2021 Kellie Lucken
Description University wide poster competition to present your research to a non-technical audience 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact To present a poster to a non-technical audience about an aspect of my research and the outcomes of it.

This sparked useful discussion with the participants and people viewing the posters to educate them about my research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020