Analysis of Yeast Mutants to Test a Mathematical Model of the Cell Cycle

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The eukaryotic cell division cycle is a complex process in which cells grow, duplicate their chromosomes, and then divide while partitioning their chromosomes and organelles between the two new daughter cells. Intense genetic and molecular experimentation in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has elucidated many of the molecular interactions involved in cell cycle regulation – to the extent that current knowledge has outpaced biologists’ ability to predict the outcomes of perturbations to this network. A mathematical model of the cell cycle developed in Dr. John Tyson’s lab formalizes much of the known cell cycle interactions. Simulations of this model reproduce the known phenotypes of over 120 cell cycle mutants described in the literature. The Tyson lab has simulated the cell growth characteristics of new combinations of cell cycle mutants not described in the literature. To test the predictive power of the model, we are generating these new mutants and assessing their phenotypes using time-lapse imaging to extract information about cell cycle timing and cell size.