Our Faculty

Michael A. Glotzer, PhD

The Glotzer lab focuses on questions related to cell organization. How do cells coordinate the position of the contractile ring with the position of the spindle? By what mechanisms are cortical domains that mediate cell polarization assembled and maintained? How do cells regulate cortical contractility during developmental morphogenesis?



To answer these questions, we use the nematode C. elegans, cultured human cells, budding yeast, and Drosophila as model systems and we combine forward and reverse genetics, biochemistry, and live cell imaging. Through these approaches we have discovered and extensively characterized the centralspindlin complex, a multifunctional protein complex that regulates essentially every step of cytokinesis.



We have pioneered the use of optogenetics to dissect spatiotemporally regulated processes. Using these approaches, we have demonstrated that RhoA activation is sufficient to induce cleavage furrows irrespective of the position of the spindle or the stage of the cell cycle. Likewise, we obtained direct evidence that positive feedback is active during yeast cell polarization.



By combining optogenetics with "conventional" genetics and live cell imaging we can directly test models for how cells endow well defined cortical regions with distinct properties that are required for complex cellular events, like cell division, cell polarization, and tissue scale morphogenetic events, such as gastrulation.

European Molecular Biology Labs
Heidelberg, Germany
Postdoc
1997

University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Ph.D - Cell Biology
1993

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
A.B. - Mathematics
1985

Small GTPases modulate intrinsic and extrinsic forces that control epithelial folding in Drosophila embryos.
Rich A, Glotzer M. Small GTPases modulate intrinsic and extrinsic forces that control epithelial folding in Drosophila embryos. Small GTPases. 2021 Sep-Nov; 12(5-6):416-428.
PMID: 33985411

Cortical recruitment of centralspindlin and RhoA effectors during meiosis I of Caenorhabditiselegans primary spermatocytes.
Wang X, Zhang D, Zheng C, Wu S, Glotzer M, Tse YC. Cortical recruitment of centralspindlin and RhoA effectors during meiosis I of Caenorhabditiselegans primary spermatocytes. J Cell Sci. 2021 02 08; 134(3).
PMID: 33468621

Rho1 activation recapitulates early gastrulation events in the ventral, but not dorsal, epithelium of Drosophila embryos.
Rich A, Fehon RG, Glotzer M. Rho1 activation recapitulates early gastrulation events in the ventral, but not dorsal, epithelium of Drosophila embryos. Elife. 2020 11 17; 9.
PMID: 33200987

Competition between kinesin-1 and myosin-V defines Drosophila posterior determination.
Lu W, Lakonishok M, Liu R, Billington N, Rich A, Glotzer M, Sellers JR, Gelfand VI. Competition between kinesin-1 and myosin-V defines Drosophila posterior determination. Elife. 2020 02 14; 9.
PMID: 32057294

PLK1 plays dual roles in centralspindlin regulation during cytokinesis.
Adriaans IE, Basant A, Ponsioen B, Glotzer M, Lens SMA. PLK1 plays dual roles in centralspindlin regulation during cytokinesis. J Cell Biol. 2019 04 01; 218(4):1250-1264.
PMID: 30728176

Spatiotemporal Regulation of RhoA during Cytokinesis.
Basant A, Glotzer M. Spatiotemporal Regulation of RhoA during Cytokinesis. Curr Biol. 2018 05 07; 28(9):R570-R580.
PMID: 29738735

Cytokinesis in Metazoa and Fungi.
Glotzer M. Cytokinesis in Metazoa and Fungi. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2017 Oct 03; 9(10).
PMID: 28007751

A GAP that Divides.
Basant A, Glotzer M. A GAP that Divides. F1000Res. 2017; 6:1788.
PMID: 29043078

Cell cycle entry triggers a switch between two modes of Cdc42 activation during yeast polarization.
Witte K, Strickland D, Glotzer M. Cell cycle entry triggers a switch between two modes of Cdc42 activation during yeast polarization. Elife. 2017 07 06; 6.
PMID: 28682236

Optogenetic control of RhoA reveals zyxin-mediated elasticity of stress fibres.
Oakes PW, Wagner E, Brand CA, Probst D, Linke M, Schwarz US, Glotzer M, Gardel ML. Optogenetic control of RhoA reveals zyxin-mediated elasticity of stress fibres. Nat Commun. 2017 06 12; 8:15817.
PMID: 28604737

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Keith Porter Fellow
Keith Porter Endowment
2004

EMBO Member
2003