Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Biol Cell. 1999 Jun;10(6):2017-31.

High-voltage electron tomography of spindle pole bodies and early mitotic spindles in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Author information

  • 1Boulder Laboratory for Three-dimensional Fine Structure, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0347, USA.


The spindle pole body (SPB) is the major microtubule-organizing center of budding yeast and is the functional equivalent of the centrosome in higher eukaryotic cells. We used fast-frozen, freeze-substituted cells in conjunction with high-voltage electron tomography to study the fine structure of the SPB and the events of early spindle formation. Individual structures were imaged at 5-10 nm resolution in three dimensions, significantly better than can be achieved by serial section electron microscopy. The SPB is organized in distinct but coupled layers, two of which show ordered two-dimensional packing. The SPB central plaque is anchored in the nuclear envelope with hook-like structures. The minus ends of nuclear microtubules (MTs) are capped and are tethered to the SPB inner plaque, whereas the majority of MT plus ends show a distinct flaring. Unbudded cells containing a single SPB retain 16 MTs, enough to attach to each of the expected 16 chromosomes. Their median length is approximately 150 nm. MTs growing from duplicated but not separated SPBs have a median length of approximately 130 nm and interdigitate over the bridge that connects the SPBs. As a bipolar spindle is formed, the median MT length increases to approximately 300 nm and then decreases to approximately 30 nm in late anaphase. Three-dimensional models confirm that there is no conventional metaphase and that anaphase A occurs. These studies complement and extend what is known about the three-dimensional structure of the yeast mitotic spindle and further our understanding of the organization of the SPB in intact cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk