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Pivoting of microtubules driven by minus-end-directed motors leads to spindle assembly

Winters, Lora; Ban, Ivana; PrelogoviĆ, Marcel; Kalinina, Iana; Pavin, Nenad; Tolić, Iva M. (2019) Pivoting of microtubules driven by minus-end-directed motors leads to spindle assembly. Bmc biology, 17 (1). ISSN 1741-7007

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Background At the beginning of mitosis, the cell forms a spindle made of microtubules and associated proteins to segregate chromosomes. An important part of spindle architecture is a set of antiparallel microtubule bundles connecting the spindle poles. A key question is how microtubules extending at arbitrary angles form an antiparallel interpolar bundle. Results Here, we show in fission yeast that microtubules meet at an oblique angle and subsequently rotate into antiparallel alignment. Our live- cell imaging approach provides a direct observation of interpolar bundle formation. By combining experiments with theory, we show that microtubules from each pole search for those from the opposite pole by performing random angular movement. Upon contact, two microtubules slide sideways along each other in a directed manner towards the antiparallel configuration. We introduce the contour length of microtubules as a measure of activity of motors that drive microtubule sliding, which we used together with observation of Cut7/kinesin-5 motors and our theory to reveal the minus-end- directed motility of this motor in vivo. Conclusion Random rotational motion helps microtubules from the opposite poles to find each other and subsequent accumulation of motors allows them to generate forces that drive interpolar bundle formation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mitotic spindle ; Mitosis ; Spindle assembly ; Antiparallel microtubule bundles ; Overlap bundles ; Microtubule rotation ; Motor proteins ; Kinesin-5 ; Forces ; Fission yeast
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Division of Molecular Biology
Depositing User: Iva Tolić
Date Deposited: 11 May 2020 08:51
DOI: 10.1186/s12915-019-0656-2

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