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Elife. 2014 Dec 18;3:e03398. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03398.

Mechanical design principles of a mitotic spindle.

Author information

1
Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

An organised spindle is crucial to the fidelity of chromosome segregation, but the relationship between spindle structure and function is not well understood in any cell type. The anaphase B spindle in fission yeast has a slender morphology and must elongate against compressive forces. This 'pushing' mode of chromosome transport renders the spindle susceptible to breakage, as observed in cells with a variety of defects. Here we perform electron tomographic analyses of the spindle, which suggest that it organises a limited supply of structural components to increase its compressive strength. Structural integrity is maintained throughout the spindle's fourfold elongation by organising microtubules into a rigid transverse array, preserving correct microtubule number and dynamically rescaling microtubule length.

KEYWORDS:

S. cerevisiae; S. pombe; biophysics; cell biology; cytoskeleton; forces; mitosis; structural biology

PMID:
25521247
PMCID:
PMC4290452
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.03398
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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