BBS Faculty Member - Michael Blower

Michael Blower

Department of Genetics
Department of Molecular Biology

Massachusetts General Hospital
Simches Research Building, CPZN 6622
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-643-0777
Fax: 617-726-6893
Lab Members: 5 postdoctoral fellows, 1 graduate student
Visit my lab page here.

We in how interactions between noncoding RNAs and the cytoskeleton influence cytoskeletal assembly. The main projects in the lab are:

Centromeric noncoding RNAs
Normal segregation of chromosomes to daughter cells during mitosis and meiosis is critical for cell viability. Defects in chromosome segregation are correlated with cancer progression and cause many types of birth defects (e.g. Down Syndrome). Normal chromosome segregation depends on the centromere, the site of the chromosome responsible for attachment to microtubules during mitosis. In most organisms centromeres are actively transcribed into long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), but little is known about the function of centromeric lncRNAs. We are studying the mechanisms of centromeric lncRNA transcription and the proteins that bind to these lncRNAs to understand how noncoding RNAs contribute to proper chromosome segregation.

Transcriptome remodeling during mitosis
During mitosis the vast majority of transcription ceases to facilitate chromosome segregation. During interphase many different marks (e.g. histone modifications and lncRNAs) are present on chromatin to define epigenetic states of gene expression. During mitosis the vast majority of epigenetic marks are stripped off of chromatin, yet little is known about this process. We are studying the mechanisms of lncRNA removal from mitotic chromatin and the consequences of a failure to remove lncRNAs from chromosomes during mitosis. These studies will provide insight into the maintenance of epigenetic states and mechanisms of chromosomes segregation.

Last Update: 8/6/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Jambhekar A, Emerman AB, Schweidenback CT, Blower MD RNA stimulates Aurora B kinase activity during mitosis. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 26;9(6):e100748.

Schwarz, DS. And
Blower, MD †. The calcium-dependent ribonuclease XendoU promotes ER network formation through local RNA degradation. J. Cell. Biol. Oct 13;207(1):41-57.

Schweidenback, CTH., Emerman, AB., Jambhekar, A.,
Blower, MD †. Evidence for multiple, distinct ADAR-containing complexes in Xenopus laevis. RNA. RNA. 2015 Feb;21(2):279-95.

Blower, MD †., Jambhekar, A., Schwarz, D., Toombs, JA. Combining different mRNA capture methods to analyze the transcriptome: analysis of the Xenopus laevis transcriptome. PLoS ONE. 2013 Oct 14;8(10):e77700.

Sharp, J., Plant, J., Ohsumi, T., Borowsky, M.,
Blower, MD †. Functional analysis of the microtubule-interacting transcriptome. Mol Biol Cell. 2011. Nov;22(22):4312-23.

© 2015 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College