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Annu Rev Genet. 1996;30:7-33.

Genetic analysis of the mitotic spindle.

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Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA.


Much of our understanding of the molecular basis of mitotic spindle function has been achieved within the past decade. Studies utilizing genetically tractable organisms have made important contributions to this field and these studies form the basis of this review. We focus upon three areas of spindle research: spindle poles, centromeres, and spindle motors. The structure and duplication mechanisms of spindle poles are considered as well as their roles in organizing spindle microtubules. Centromeres vary considerably in their size and complexity. We describe recent progress in our understanding of the relatively simple centromeres of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the complex centromeres that are more typical of eukaryotic cells. Microtubule-based motor proteins that generate the characteristic spindle movements have been identified in recent years and can be grouped into families defined by conserved primary sequence and mitotic function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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