Measuring and modeling polymer concentration profiles near spindle boundaries argues that spindle microtubules regulate their own nucleation

Bryan Kaye, Olivia Stiehl, Peter J. Foster, Michael J. Shelley, Daniel J. Needleman, Sebastian Fürthauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Spindles are self-organized microtubule-based structures that segregate chromosomes during cell division. The mass of the spindle is controlled by the balance between microtubule turnover and nucleation. The mechanisms that control the spatial regulation of microtubule nucleation remain poorly understood. While previous work found that microtubule nucleators bind to pre-existing microtubules in the spindle, it is still unclear whether this binding regulates the activity of those nucleators. Here we use a combination of experiments and mathematical modeling to investigate this issue. We measured the concentration of microtubules and soluble tubulin in and around the spindle. We found a very sharp decay in the concentration of microtubules at the spindle interface. This is inconsistent with a model in which the activity of nucleators is independent of their association with microtubules but consistent with a model in which microtubule nucleators are only active when bound to pre-existing microtubules. This argues that the activity of microtubule nucleators is greatly enhanced when bound to pre-existing microtubules. Thus, microtubule nucleators are both localized and activated by the microtubules they generate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055012
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • cell division
  • microtubule nucleation
  • self assembly
  • spindle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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