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Curr Biol. 2003 Jul 1;13(13):1096-105.

Actomyosin transports microtubules and microtubules control actomyosin recruitment during Xenopus oocyte wound healing.

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Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.



Interactions between microtubules and actin filaments (F-actin) are critical for cellular motility processes ranging from directed cell locomotion to cytokinesis. However, the cellular bases of these interactions remain poorly understood. We have analyzed the role of microtubules in generation of a contractile array comprised of F-actin and myosin-2 that forms around wounds made in Xenopus oocytes.


After wounding, microtubules are transported to the wound edge in association with F-actin that is itself recruited to wound borders via actomyosin-powered cortical flow. This transport generates sufficient force to buckle and break microtubules at the wound edge. Transport is complemented by local microtubule assembly around wound borders. The region of microtubule breakage and assembly coincides with a zone of actin assembly, and perturbation of the microtubule cytoskeleton disrupts this zone as well as local recruitment of the Arp2/3 complex and myosin-2.


The results reveal transport of microtubules in association with F-actin that is pulled to wound borders via actomyosin-based contraction. Microtubules, in turn, focus zones of actin assembly and myosin-2 recruitment at the wound border. Thus, wounding triggers the formation of a spatially coordinated feedback loop in which transport and assembly of microtubules maintains actin and myosin-2 in close proximity to the closing contractile array. These results are surprisingly reminiscent of recent findings in locomoting cells, suggesting that similar feedback interactions may be generally employed in a variety of fundamental cell motility processes.

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