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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Feb;22(1):44-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Dec 21.

New look inside the spindle: microtubule-dependent microtubule generation within the spindle.

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Institute for Advanced Research, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.


The structure, dynamics, and mechanics of mitotic and meiotic spindles have been progressively elucidated through the advancements in microscopic technology, identification of the genes involved, and construction of theoretical frameworks. Here, we review recent works that have utilized quantitative image analysis to advance our understanding of the complex spindle structure of animal cells. In particular, we discuss how microtubules (MTs) are nucleated and distributed inside the spindle. Accumulating evidence supports the presence of MT-dependent MT generation within the spindle. This mechanism would produce dense arrays of intraspindle MTs with various lengths, which may contribute to efficient spindle assembly and stabilize the metaphase spindle. RNA interference (RNAi) screens with quantitative image analysis led to the identification of the augmin complex that plays a key role in this MT generation process.

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