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Science. 1999 May 21;284(5418):1359-62.

Stimulation of microtubule aster formation and spindle assembly by the small GTPase Ran.

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Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Embryology, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.


Ran, a small guanosine triphosphatase, is suggested to have additional functions beyond its well-characterized role in nuclear trafficking. Guanosine triphosphate-bound Ran, but not guanosine diphosphate-bound Ran, stimulated polymerization of astral microtubules from centrosomes assembled on Xenopus sperm. Moreover, a Ran allele with a mutation in the effector domain (RanL43E) induced the formation of microtubule asters and spindle assembly, in the absence of sperm nuclei, in a gammaTuRC (gamma-tubulin ring complex)- and XMAP215 (Xenopus microtubule associated protein)-dependent manner. Therefore, Ran could be a key signaling molecule regulating microtubule polymerization during mitosis.

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