Francis J. McNally

Francis McNally

Position Title

  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
3167 Green Hall

Research Interests

Meiosis is a process by which animals, plants and fungi reduce chromosome number four-fold to produce haploid gametes. In females of both plants and animals, only one of four sets of chromosomes segregated during meiosis is inherited by a gamete. In animals, this asymmetric inheritance is mediated by asymmetric meiotic spindle positioning and highly asymmetric cell divisions that yield a large haploid egg. We are interested in the mechanisms that mediate these asymmetric divisions and utilize C. elegans because both meiotic divisions can be filmed in utero using fluorescent protein fusions and time-lapse imaging. We use a combination of classical genetics, RNAi and biochemistry to elucidate the roles of proteins that regulate microtubule-based motility, microtubule organization and microtubule dynamics in meiotic cell division.

Education and Degree(s)
  • 1984 B.A. in Biochemical Sciences, Princeton University
  • 1990 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley
  • Juanico IY, Meyer CM, McCarthy JE, Gong T, McNally FJ. 2021. Paternal mitochondria from an rmd-2, rmd-3, rmd-6 triple mutant are properly positioned in the C. elegans zygote.  MicroPubl Biol. 2021 Jul 19;2021:10.17912/micropub.biology.000422. doi: 10.17912/micropub.biology.000422. eCollection 2021.  
  • Danlasky, B.M., Panzica, M.P., McNally, K.P., Vargas, E., Bailey, C., Li, W., Gong, T., Fishman, E.S., Jiang, X. and McNally, F.J.  2020. Evidence for anaphase pulling forces during C. elegans meiosis.  Journal of Cell Biology  219 (12): e202005179.
  • Vargas E, McNally KP, Cortes DB, Panzica MT, Danlasky BM, Li Q, Maddox AS, McNally FJ.  2019.  Spherical spindle shape promotes perpendicular cortical orientation by preventing isometric cortical pulling on both spindle poles during C. elegans female meiosis.  Development. 146(20). pii: dev178863. 
  • McNally FJ, Roll-Mecak A. 2018.  Microtubule-severing enzymes: From cellular functions to molecular mechanism.  J Cell Biol.  217(12):4057-4069.
  • Nithianantham S, McNally FJ, Al-Bassam J.  2018.  Structural basis for disassembly of katanin heterododecamers.  J Biol Chem. 293(27):10590-10605.