Mitosis control

Separase Signaling Activity Description

Developed by: R. Phillis, J.Z. Barlow, and J. Fitzgerald
Modifications: Donna Koslowsky and Jon Stoltzfus

Campbell's Biology 9e; Chapter 12

Learning Objective:

"Students will be able to explain how cells ensure accurate distribution of genetic information during cell division, explain how cells control these processes, and predict how alterations in these processes impact the cell."

Connection to Vision and Change*

Core Concepts
The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in contex.

Core Competencies
Biology focuses on the study of complex systems.

*Vision and Change: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: AAAS; 2010.


Based on the activity Randall Phillis, J. Zane Barlow, and Johanna Fitzgerald.[1]  It is designed to promote student reasoning about regulatory processes involved in mitosis.  Following a brief description of the importance of having a spindle fiber attached to every kinetochore students participate in a demonstration illustrating positive and negative signaling. Students then use the diagram depicting the regulation of separase activity to determine what is happening in normal cells so that sister chromatids do not separate until all kinetochores have a spindle fiber attached.  They then use the diagram to predict what will happen in various situations in which the signal transduction pathway is disrupted.

Classroom session flow example:

Pre-class: reading and homework on what happens in each phase of mitosis.

In-Class sequence:
1. Mini-lecture: phases of mitosis.
2. Discussion: what would happen if not all kinetochores had spindle fibers attached when anaphase begins?
3. Demonstration: positive and negative signaling.
4. Activity: Students work through separase diagram and ask quesitons.
5. Formative clicker assessments: what happens to mitosis in various situations.


Mitosis control clicker questions only702.36 KB
Full lecture: includes both lecture slides and activity3.02 MB

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.