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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Nov;18(11):702-710. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2017.75. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Microtubule nucleation: beyond the template.

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The Francis Crick Institute, 1 Midland Road, London NW1 1AT, UK.


Microtubules are cytoskeletal filaments central to a wide range of essential cellular functions in eukaryotic cells. Consequently, cells need to exert tight control over when, where and how many microtubules are being made. Whereas the regulation of microtubule dynamics is well studied, the molecular mechanisms of microtubule nucleation are still poorly understood. Next to the established master template of nucleation, the γ-tubulin ring complex, other microtubule-associated proteins that affect microtubule dynamic properties have recently been found to contribute to nucleation. It has begun to emerge that the nucleation efficiency is controlled not only by template activity but also by, either additionally or alternatively, the stabilization of the nascent microtubule 'nucleus'. This suggests a simple conceptual framework for the mechanisms regulating microtubule nucleation in cells.

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