Laplante trained as a biochemist and obtained her Ph.D. in biology from McGill University. During her doctoral studies, she discovered an essential role for the differential expression of the cellular adhesion protein Echinoid in the polarized assembly of the contractile leading edge in the migrating dorsal epithelium during embryogenesis in Drosophila. Her postdoctoral work challenged commonly accepted notions about the cytokinetic contractile ring essential for cell division in animals, fungi and amoebas. She discovered that not one, but multiple myosins function to generate the forces necessary for cell division and characterized the distinct role of these three myosins during the assembly and constriction of the contractile ring in fission yeast. Laplante adapted high-speed Fluorescence PhotoActivated Light Microscopy (FPALM) to the study of live fission yeast cells. With this technique, she obtained quantitative images of the cytokinetic apparatus at unprecedented resolution. She discovered that cytokinetic protein assemblies called “nodes” are the basic unit of constriction of the contractile ring in fission yeast, and built a molecular model of the protein organization within the node.
Computational Biology and BioinformaticsOur research applies precision measurements of molecular, cellular and tissue dynamics in living embryos, along with computer simulation and modeling, to understand the development, growth and diversification of plants and animals.
Study Unlocking Mysteries of Cell Division Receives NIH Funding
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1.5 million grant to NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s Caroline Laplante for a study into the complex inner workings of cell division, the fundamental foundation of life. The study investigates the core machinery of cytokinesis, when a single cell separates into two, a process central to