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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1988;10(1-2):185-96.

Microtubule dynamics in the chromosomal spindle fiber: analysis by fluorescence and high-resolution polarization microscopy.

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Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-3280.


We describe preliminary results from two studies exploring the dynamics of microtubule assembly and organization within chromosomal spindle fibers. In the first study, we microinjected fluorescently labeled tubulin into mitotic PtK1 cells and measured fluorescence redistribution after photobleaching (FRAP) to determine the assembly dynamics of the microtubules within the chromosomal fibers in metaphase cells depleted of nonkinetochore microtubules by cooling to 23-24 degrees C. FRAP measurements showed that the tubulin throughout at least 72% of the microtubules within the chromosomal fibers exchanges with the cellular tubulin pool with a half-time of 77 sec. There was no observable poleward flux of subunits. If the assembly of the kinetochore microtubules is governed by dynamic instability, our results indicate that the half-life of microtubule attachment to the kinetochore is less than several min at 23-24 degrees C. In the second study, we used high-resolution polarization microscopy to observe microtubule dynamics during mitosis in newt lung epithelial cells. We obtained evidence from 150-nm-thick optical sections that microtubules throughout the spindle laterally associate for several sec into "rods" composed of a few microtubules. These transient lateral associations between microtubules appeared to produce the clustering of nonkinetochore and kinetochore microtubules into the chromosomal fibers. Our results indicate that the chromosomal fiber is a dynamic structure, because microtubule assembly is transient, lateral interactions between microtubules are transient, and the attachment of the kinetochores to microtubules may also be transient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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