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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Nov;19(11):4900-8. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E08-06-0624. Epub 2008 Sep 17.

Hepatoma up-regulated protein is required for chromatin-induced microtubule assembly independently of TPX2.

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  • 1European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


The production of RanGTP around chromosomes is crucial for spindle microtubule assembly in mitosis. Previous work has shown that hepatoma up-regulated protein (HURP) is a Ran target, required for microtubule stabilization and spindle organization. Here we report a detailed analysis of HURP function in Xenopus laevis mitotic egg extracts. HURP depletion severely impairs bipolar spindle assembly around chromosomes: the few spindles that do form show a significant decrease in microtubule density at the spindle midzone. HURP depletion does not interfere with microtubule growth from purified centrosomes, but completely abolishes microtubule assembly induced by chromatin beads or RanGTP. Simultaneous depletion of the microtubule destabilizer MCAK with HURP does not rescue the phenotype, demonstrating that the effect of HURP is not to antagonize the destabilization activity of MCAK. Although the phenotype of HURP depletion closely resembles that reported for TPX2 depletion, we find no evidence that TPX2 and HURP physically interact or that they influence each other in their effects on spindle microtubules. Our data indicate that HURP and TPX2 have nonredundant functions essential for chromatin-induced microtubule assembly.

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