Microtubule-severing enzymes. Academic Article uri icon


  • In 1993, an enzyme with an ATP-dependent microtubule-severing activity was purified from sea urchin eggs and named katanin, after the Japanese word for sword. Now we know that katanin, spastin, and fidgetin form a family of closely related microtubule-severing enzymes that is widely distributed in eukaryotes ranging from Tetrahymena and Chlamydomonas to humans. Here we review the diverse in vivo functions of these proteins and the recent significant advances in deciphering the biophysical mechanism of microtubule severing.

publication date

  • February 2010