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Curr Biol. 1999 May 6;9(9):481-4.

The ran GTPase regulates mitotic spindle assembly.

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Laboratory of Molecular Embryology NICHD NIH Building 18, Room 106, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892-5431, USA.


Ran is an abundant nuclear GTPase with a clear role in nuclear transport during interphase but with roles in mitotic regulation that are less well understood. The nucleotide-binding state of Ran is regulated by a GTPase activating protein, RanGAP1, and by a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, RCC1. Ran also interacts with a guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor, RanBP1. RanBP1 has a high affinity for GTP-bound Ran, and it acts as a cofactor for RanGAP1, increasing the rate of GAP-mediated GTP hydrolysis on Ran approximately tenfold. RanBP1 levels oscillate during the cell cycle [4], and increased concentrations of RanBP1 prolong mitosis in mammalian cells and in Xenopus egg extracts (our unpublished observations). We investigated how increased concentrations of RanBP1 disturb mitosis. We found that spindle assembly is dramatically disrupted when exogenous RanBP1 is added to M phase Xenopus egg extracts. We present evidence that the role of Ran in spindle assembly is independent of nuclear transport and is probably mediated through changes in microtubule dynamics.

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