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The Journal of cell biology

Minus-end capture of preformed kinetochore fibers contributes to spindle morphogenesis.


PMID 12604591

Abstract

Near-simultaneous three-dimensional fluorescence/differential interference contrast microscopy was used to follow the behavior of microtubules and chromosomes in living alpha-tubulin/GFP-expressing cells after inhibition of the mitotic kinesin Eg5 with monastrol. Kinetochore fibers (K-fibers) were frequently observed forming in association with chromosomes both during monastrol treatment and after monastrol removal. Surprisingly, these K-fibers were oriented away from, and not directly connected to, centrosomes and incorporated into the spindle by the sliding of their distal ends toward centrosomes via a NuMA-dependent mechanism. Similar preformed K-fibers were also observed during spindle formation in untreated cells. In addition, upon monastrol removal, centrosomes established a transient chromosome-free bipolar array whose orientation specified the axis along which chromosomes segregated. We propose that the capture and incorporation of preformed K-fibers complements the microtubule plus-end capture mechanism and contributes to spindle formation in vertebrates.