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Eur J Cell Biol. 1990 Dec;53(2):313-25.

The mechanism of kinetochore-spindle attachment and polewards movement analyzed in PtK2 cells at the prophase-prometaphase transition.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg/Federal Republic of Germany.


PtK2 cells at the prophase-prometaphase transition were analyzed to study the origin of kinetochore microtubules, the mode of kinetochore fiber construction and the mechanism of polewards movement. Attention was focused on chromosomes which, as deduced from video time-lapse tapes, had just started their initial characteristic movement towards one of the poles. In the same cell, the arrangement of microtubules in the vicinity of the kinetochore region was visualized either with indirect immunofluorescence and confocal fluorescence microscopy, or with electron microscopy in semithin sections of cells, immunostained for microtubules and embedded in epon. The results strengthen the evidence that kinetochore microtubules are nucleated in the centrosomal region. Bundles of microtubules, some ending at the kinetochore and others passing beyond it, are formed rapidly, seemingly without influencing the rapid rate of movement. They also show that microtubules often establish contact with kinetochores by lateral interaction, prior to kinetochore-pole orientation, and that kinetochores can move polewards along the microtubule wall of attached microtubules, independently of the latter's dynamics. These findings confirm and extend to the earliest chromosome movements at the prophase-prometaphase transition, the results of Rieder and Alexander (J. Cell Biol. 110, 81-95, (1990)), who studied the attachment and polewards movement of chromosomes strongly delayed in forming an attachment to the spindle. They are discussed in the light of recent evidence for the localization of dynein to kinetochores and contemporary models for kinetochore structure and function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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