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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2010;26:21-57. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100109-104006.

Control of mitotic spindle length.

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Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan.


The mitotic spindle accurately segregates genetic instructions by moving chromosomes to spindle poles (anaphase A) and separating the poles (anaphase B) so that, in general, the chromosomes and poles are positioned near the centers of the nascent daughter cell products of each cell division. Because the size of different types of dividing cells, and thus the spacing of their daughter cell centers, can vary significantly, the length of the metaphase or postanaphase B spindle often scales with cell size. However, significant exceptions to this scaling rule occur, revealing the existence of cell size–independent, spindle-associated mechanisms of spindle length control. The control of spindle length reflects the action of mitotic force-generating mechanisms, and its study may illuminate general principles by which cells regulate the size of internal structures. Here we review molecules and mechanisms that control spindle length, how these mechanisms are deployed in different systems, and some quantitative models that describe the control of spindle length.

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