Regulation of microtubule nucleation


Nous voulons acquérir une compréhension fondamentale de la manière dont la nucléation des microtubules est régulée spatio-temporellement dans le contexte des animaux pluricellulaires.

Nous sommes particulièrement intéressés par la façon dont les mécanismes régulant la formation et l’organisation des microtubules varient entre les types de cellules, y compris dans les cellules en division et les neurones.

Mots-clés : Microtubules, division cellulaire, neurones, gamma-tubuline, g-TuRC, MTOC, centrosome, drosophile

+33 (0)157278095    paul.conduit(at)     @PaulConduit

Research goal

We want to gain a fundamental understanding of how microtubule nucleation is spatiotemporally regulated within the context of multi-cellular animals. We are particularly interested in how the mechanisms regulating microtubule formation and organisation vary between cell types.





Microtubules are dynamic polymers that make up part of the cell’s cytoskeleton. They form a spectacular variety of arrays across different cell types and developmental stages. For example, during cell division microtubules are arranged into the mitotic spindle, which separates the duplicated chromosomes equally between daughter cells. In mature neurons, however, microtubules are arranged into polarised networks that run through axons and dendrites. These networks are required for structural support, neurite growth, and transport of molecules between the cell body and the neurite terminals. All cells use the same fundamental machinery to generate and organise microtubules, so how do different cells form such different microtubule arrays?


Research programme

We are addressing this question by studying the molecular regulation of multi-protein γ-tubulin ring complexes (γ-TuRCs), which template and catalyse de novo microtubule formation. γ-TuRCs are recruited and activated at specific sites within the cells in order to generate new microtubules at the right place and time. These sites include microtubule organising centres (MTOCs), such as centrosomes during mitosis or the Golgi in migrating fibroblasts, the sides of pre-existing microtubules, or specialised regions of cytoplasm, such as the cytosol surrounding mitotic chromatin. Once generated, molecular motors can slide microtubules against one another or even guide the direction of microtubule growth. Microtubules can also be stabilised by post-translational modifications or binding of other proteins. While not a focus of the lab, we are also interested in these post-nucleated processes as collectively they are important for correct microtubule array formation.


Main research areas currently within the lab

  • Investigating the molecular mechanisms regulating γ-TuRC recruitment and activation at different MTOCs
  • Understanding how microtubule formation and polarity are regulated within neurons.




We predominantly use Drosophila as an in vivo multi-cellular animal model system. We combine precise manipulation of the genome, fixed and live advanced cell imaging, and biochemical assays to probe the molecular regulation of microtubules and the effect of their mis-regulation within cells.



Our work has implications for cancer and neurodegenerative disease, as γ-TuRCs have been identified as potential anti-cancer targets and microtubules form part of an important response during neuronal stress.

Group Leader :

phone : +33 (0)157278089




Isabelle BECAM Assistant professor
Adria CHORRO PhD Student
Léa MAMMRI Technician
Akila MERAH Postdoc
Anaëlle TAIEB Engineer
Berta GARCIA Intern


Augmin-ting dendritic branching through microtubule nucleation. (2024). Journal of Cell Science, 137(9), e137_e0901.
Mukherjee, A., Jeske, Y. A., Becam, I., Taïeb, A., Brooks, P., Aouad, J., Monguillon, C., & Conduit, P. T. (2024). γ-TuRCs and Augmin are required for the development of highly branched dendritic arbors in Drosophila. Journal of Cell Science, jcs.261534.
Conduit, P. (2024). Building the centrosome: PLK-1 controls multimerization of SPD-5. Journal of Cell Biology, 223(4), e202403003.
Zhu, Z., Becam, I., Tovey, C. A., Elfarkouchi, A., Yen, E. C., Bernard, F., Guichet, A., & Conduit, P. T. (2023). Multifaceted modes of γ-tubulin complex recruitment and microtubule nucleation at mitotic centrosomes. Journal of Cell Biology, 222(10), e202212043.
Cunningham, N. H. J., Bouhlel, I. B., & Conduit, P. T. (2022). Daughter centrioles assemble preferentially towards the nuclear envelope in Drosophila syncytial embryos. Open Biology, 12(1), 210343.
Tovey, C. A., Tsuji, C., Egerton, A., Bernard, F., Guichet, A., de la Roche, M., & Conduit, P. T. (2021). Autoinhibition of Cnn binding to γ-TuRCs prevents ectopic microtubule nucleation and cell division defects. The Journal of Cell Biology, 220(8), e202010020.
Alvarez-Rodrigo, I., Steinacker, T. L., Saurya, S., Conduit, P. T., Baumbach, J., Novak, Z. A., Aydogan, M. G., Wainman, A., & Raff, J. W. (2019). Evidence that a positive feedback loop drives centrosome maturation in fly embryos. ELife, 8, e50130.
Tovey, C. A., Tubman, C. E., Hamrud, E., Zhu, Z., Dyas, A. E., Butterfield, A. N., Fyfe, A., Johnson, E., & Conduit, P. T. (2018). γ-TuRC Heterogeneity Revealed by Analysis of Mozart1. Current Biology, 28(14), 2314-2323.e6.
Conduit, P. T. (2016). Microtubule organization: A complex solution. Journal of Cell Biology, 213(6), 609–612.



Mukherjee, A., Brooks, P. S., Bernard, F., Guichet, A., & Conduit, P. T. (2020). Microtubules originate asymmetrically at the somatic golgi and are guided via Kinesin2 to maintain polarity within neurons. ELife, 9, e58943.
Mukherjee, A., & Conduit, P. T. (2019). γ-TuRCs. Current Biology, 29(11), R398–R400.
Tovey, C. A., & Conduit, P. T. (2018). Microtubule nucleation by γ-tubulin complexes and beyond. Essays in Biochemistry, 62(6), 765–780.



Zhu, Z., Tovey, C. A., Yen, E. C., Bernard, F., Guichet, A., & Conduit, P. T. (2022). Multifaceted modes of γ-tubulin complex recruitment and microtubule nucleation at mitotic centrosomes. bioRxiv.
Mukherjee, A., & Conduit, P. T. (2021). γ-TuRCs are required for asymmetric microtubule nucleation from the somatic Golgi of Drosophila neurons. bioRxiv.

Antoine Guichet, Susan Lea, Emmanuel Derivery, Françoise Ochsenbein

Impulscience, Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller

FRM – team label

ANR project grant

IDex, Université Parix Cité

21.11.2023 : Impulscience prize 2023

We are currently recruiting postdocs to study microtubule nucleation in neurons – please contact Paul Conduit directly.