Lesilee S. Rose

Lesilee Rose

Position Title

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences

3165 Life Sciences

Research Interests

Developmental and cell biology of C. elegans, with an emphasis on the control of cell division patterns and polarity.

The main focus of the lab's research is to understand how the orientation of cell division is controlled. In animal cells, the division furrow typically bisects the mitotic spindle. Thus, the cell division plane is determined by the position of the mitotic spindle. Proper division orientation is essential for a number of developmental and homeostatic processes. These include intrinsically specified asymmetric divisions in which a cell divides to produce daughters with different fates at birth. During such divisions the parent cell is polarized for particular cortical or cytoplasmic components; the spindle must align with this axis for division to result in the differential segregation of such components to the daughter cells, which gives them different developmental fates. During extrinsically asymmetric divisions, although the parent cell is not polarized the spindle/division orientation places daughters in different positions and thus different environments, which results in different fates. Both types of asymmetric division are important for generating cell diversity during development, as well as for the ability of adult stem cells to produce a self-renewing stem cell and a daughter that differentiates; asymmetric division also affects the proliferative capacity of some cell types and defects in spindle positioning have been implicated in cancer. We utilize the model system C. elegans for the majority of our studies, and employ a variety of genetic, molecular and cell biological techniques.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics

Specialties / Focus

  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Division and the Cytoskeleton
  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Genetics
  • Model Organism Genetics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Signal Transduction


  • Life Sciences Addition 3235/39
    • Graduate Students: Helen Lamb, Laurel Koch; Jr. Specialists: Jocelyn Alvarado, Amy Leslie; Undergraduate students: Sara Ruch, Kathie Paniagua-Urrutia, Krista Myles

Honors and Awards

  • Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award

    Professional Societies

    • Society for Developmental Biology
    • Genetics Society of America
    • American Society for Cell Biology


    • 1986 BS Biology College of William and Mary
    • 1991 PhD Molecular Biology Princeton University


    Liro MJ, Morton DG, Rose LS. 2018. The kinases PIG-1 and PAR-1 act in redundant pathways to regulate asymmetric division in the EMS blastomere of C. elegans. Dev Biol. 2018 444(1):9-19.

    Price, Kari L. and Lesilee S. Rose. 2017. LET-99 functions in the astral furrowing pathway, where it is required for myosin enrichment in the contractile ring. Mol Biol Cell. 28:2360-2373

     Małgorzata J. Liro and Lesilee S. Rose. 2016.  Mitotic Spindle Positioning in the EMS Cell of Caenorhabditis elegans Requires LET-99 and LIN-5/NuMA. Genetics 204: 1177-1189.

    Wu, Jui-Ching, Espiritu EB and Lesilee S. Rose. 2016. The 14-3-3 protein PAR-5 regulates the asymmetric localization of the LET-99 spindle positioning protein. Devel. biology. 2016; 412(2):288-97.

    Michael J.W. VanGompel, K.C.Q Nguyen, David H. Hall, William T. Dauer, and Lesilee S. Rose. A novel function for the C. elegans Torsin OOC-5 in nucleoporin localization and nuclear import. Mol Biol Cell. 2015 26(9):1752-63. This paper was highlighted in the ASCB Newsletter and on the Dystonia Research Foundation website

    Polarity establishment, asymmetric division and segregation of fate determinants in early C. elegans embryos. In WormBook, ed.The C. elegans Research Community, WormBook, http://www.wormbook.org.

    Eugenel B. Espiritu and Lesilee S Rose. 2013. Caenorhabditis elegans Embryo: Establishment of Asymmetry. In: eLS 2013, John Wiley & Sons Ltd: Chichester http://www.els.net/ [DO10.1002/9780470015902.a0001506.pub3]

    Eugenel B. Espiritu, Lori E. Krueger, Anna Ye and Lesilee S. Rose, 2012. CLASPs function redundantly to regulate microtubule length in the C. elegans embryo. Dev Biol. 368, 242-54.

    Krueger Lori E, Wu Jui-ching, Tsou Meng-Fu Bryan, Rose Lesilee S 2010. LET-99 inhibits lateral posterior pulling forces during asymmetric spindle elongation in C. elegans embryos.J Cell Biol 189(3):481-95

    Wei Li, Leah DeBella, Tugba Guven-Ozkan, Rueyling Lin and Lesilee Rose. 2009. An eIF4E-binding protein regulates katanin protein levels in C. elegans embryos. J Cell Bio 187, 33-42

    Park, Dae Hwi and Lesilee S. Rose. Dynamic localization of LIN-5 and GPR-1/2 to cortical force generation domains during spindle positioning. Dev Biol 315, 42-54

    Wu, Jui-Ching, and Lesilee S. Rose. 2007. PAR-3 and PAR-1 inhibit LET-99 localization to generate a cortical band important for spindle positioning in C. elegans embryos. 2007. Mol Biol Cell. 18:4470-82

    DeBella, Leah R., Adam Hayashi, and Lesilee S. Rose. 2006. LET-711, the C. elegans NOT1 ortholog, is required for spindle positioning and regulation of microtubule length in embryos. Mol. Biol. Cell 17:4911-4924

    Gonczy, Pierre, and Lesilee S. Rose. 2005. Asymmetric cell division and axis formation in the embryo. In WormBook, ed.The C. elegans Research Community, WormBook, doi/10.1895/wormbook.1.7.1, http://www.wormbook.org.

    Meng-Fu Bryan Tsou, Wei Ku, Adam Hayashi, and Lesilee S. Rose. 2003. PAR-dependent and geometry-dependent mechanisms of spindle positioning. J Cell Bio1: 160(6):845-55.

    Meng-Fu Bryan Tsou, Adam Hayashi, and Lesilee S. Rose. 2003. LET-99 opposes Ga/GPR signaling to generate asymmetry for spindle positioning in response to PAR and MES-1/SRC-1 signaling. Development 130: 5717-30.

    Tsou M-F, A Hayashi, LR. DeBella, G McGrath, and LS Rose. 2002. LET-99 determines spindle position and is asymmetrically enriched in response to PAR polarity cues in C. elegans embryos. Development. 129(19):4469-4481

    Basham, SE and LS Rose. 2001. The Caenorhabditis elegans polarity gene ooc-5 encodes a Torsin-related protein of the AAA ATPase superfamily. Development. 128(22):4645-4656