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Cell. 1997 Jun 27;89(7):1077-86.

The yeast spindle pole body is assembled around a central crystal of Spc42p.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118-2394, USA.


The spindle pole body (SPB) is the microtubule organizing center (MTOC) in the yeast Saccharomyces that plays a pivotal role in such diverse processes as mitosis, budding, and mating. We have used cryoelectron microscopy and image processing to study the structure of isolated diploid SPBs. We show that SPBs are present in two lateral-size classes, sharing a similar vertical architecture comprised of six major layers. Tomographic reconstructions of heparin-stripped SPBs reveal a central hexagonally packed layer. Overexpression of Spc42p results in the growth of a similar layer, forming a crystal that encircles the SPB. Hence, the SPB is an MTOC that utilizes crystallographic packing of subunits in its construction.

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