Rather than untangle the complexity of the MTOC, Viswanath focused her research on yeast cells. Within these simpler organisms, the spindle pole body (SPB) functions like the MTOC. Unlike in animal cells, the SPB of yeast contains only 18 proteins and Viswanath has initially focused on five core proteins: Spc110, Spc42, Cnm67, Spc29 and Cmd1.
‘A research team is trying to decipher the molecular structure of microtubule-organizing centers (MTOCs) to understand the inside of cancer cells.’
Using multiple techniques such as structural modeling, X-ray scattering, X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, Viswanath and her team found that the Spc110 protein provides a greater function in the SPB than originally believed. At first, scientists thought these proteins acted as mere spacers holding pieces of the SPB architecture in place, but now it is believed these proteins may provide a binding surface for this architecture. This information can help understand the function of the human cell equivalent of SPBs called centrosomes. Future experiments are necessary to identify the position of other key proteins, like Spc29, a critical protein in the SPB core and to eventually identify its specific function.