The first pilot experiment for the Virtual Lab ran from January - June 2010. Schools in the Hammersmith and Fulham borough helped scientists working in the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperical College London to investigate the role of the proteins, cohesin and SUMO, in cell division (mitosis).
"It was very interesting and the practical aspect(images) helped me to understand what was happening in the experiment."
"I enjoyed the site very much. It was easy to follow and understand. I hope there will be more experiments based on A level Biology, as this will be very helpful when revising."
"...the website was very enjoyable and we liked the chickens, we thought they were very cute!"
"... The activity did help a lot , made everything simpler and the images were very clear."
"Nice work on the amino acids"!
"Changing over 50 amino acids might change the tertiary stucture of the molecule..."
"This would positively suggest that SUMO does indeed effect the experiment..."
The data suggests that SUMO does play a role in chromatid separation as the percentage of chromatids that failed to separate was higher in the experiment where SUMO couldnt work properly."
"If SUMO was the only factor in chromatid separation 100% of the mutant cells (without SUMO) should fail to separate their chromatids. Since the scientists only got this result for 18% of cells, it appears chromatids can separate without the presence of SUMO. It may however play another, more complicated role in chromatid separation."
If you were an MRC scientist what would your next experiment be?
"Investigate other cohesin proteins that SUMO sticks to and carry out the same experiment."
"Carry out the same experiment using the other proteins present in Cohesin, which SUMO also sticks to."
"Repeat the experiment for reliability. Also do an experiement to see if SUMO sticks and acts in the same way when sticking to the other proteins in the cohesin complex in comparison to how it acted with Scc1."