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Cell. 1987 Apr 24;49(2):193-202.

The role of tubulin polymerization during spindle elongation in vitro.


We describe the effect of exogenous tubulin on reactivation of anaphase spindle elongation in isolated diatom spindles. In the absence of tubulin, spindle elongation is limited to the equivalent of the microtubule overlap zone, but in the presence of tubulin spindle elongation is several times the length of the overlap zone. Biotinylated neurotubulin is incorporated into the overlap zone and around the poles. Before spindles have elongated by the equivalent of the overlap zone, there are two regions of incorporated tubulin flanking this zone. After further elongation, there is one broad zone of incorporated tubulin in the spindle midzone. Spindle elongation and the pattern of tubulin incorporation into the midzone, but not the poles, are ATP-dependent and vanadate-sensitive. These results suggest that tubulin adds onto the ends of microtubules in the overlap zone, which then slide through the midzone as the spindle elongates.

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