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Science. 2003 Jul 25;301(5632):518-21.

The distribution of active force generators controls mitotic spindle position.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, D-01307 Dresden, Germany.


During unequal cell divisions a mitotic spindle is eccentrically positioned before cell cleavage. To determine the basis of the net force imbalance that causes spindle displacement in one-cell Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, we fragmented centrosomes with an ultraviolet laser. Analysis of the mean and variance of fragment speeds suggests that the force imbalance is due to a larger number of force generators pulling on astral microtubules of the posterior aster relative to the anterior aster. Moreover, activation of heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide- binding protein (Gprotein) alpha subunits is required to generate these astral forces.

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