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Traffic. 2008 Apr;9(4):472-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2007.00698.x. Epub 2007 Dec 26.

Cytoplasmic dynein is involved in the retention of microtubules at the centrosome in interphase cells.

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Department of Cell Biology and Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue-MC1507, Farmington, CT 06032-1507, USA.


Cytoplasmic dynein is known to be involved in the establishment of radial microtubule (MT) arrays. During mitosis, dynein activity is required for tethering of the MTs at the spindle poles. In interphase cells, dynein inhibitors induce loss of radial MT organization; however, the exact role of dynein in the maintenance of MT arrays is unclear. Here, we examined the effect of dynein inhibitors on MT distribution and the centrosome protein composition in cultured fibroblasts. We found that while these inhibitors induced rapid (t(1/2) approximately 20 min) loss of radial MT organization, the levels of key centrosomal proteins or the rates of MT nucleation did not change significantly in dynein-inhibited cells, suggesting that the loss of dynein activity does not affect the structural integrity of the centrosome or its capacity to nucleate MTs. Live observations of the centrosomal activity showed that dynein inhibition enhanced the detachment of MTs from the centrosome. We conclude that the primary role of dynein in the maintenance of a radial MT array in interphase cells consists of retention of MTs at the centrosome and hypothesize that dynein has a role in the MT retention, separate from the delivery to the centrosome of MT-anchoring proteins.

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