Characterization of a microtubule assembly inhibitor from Xenopus oocytes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The dynamic properties of microtubules (MTs) are important for a wide variety of cellular processes, including cell division and morphogenesis. MT assembly and disassembly in vivo are regulated by cellular factors that influence specific parameters of MT dynamics. Here, we describe the characterization of a previously reported MT assembly inhibitor activity from Xenopus oocytes [Gard and Kirschner, 1987: J. Cell Biol. 105:2191-2201]. Video microscopy measurements reveal that the inhibitor specifically decreases the plus end growth rate of MTs and increases the critical concentration for tubulin. However, catastrophe frequency, rescue frequency, and shrinkage rates are not affected by the activity. Chromatography on Mono Q and hydroxyapatite columns has shown that the activity cofractionates with a subpopulation of tubulin. This tubulin subpopulation and the MT assembly inhibitor activity also co-migrate with a large S value (25-30S) on sucrose gradients. The high molecular weight tubulin complex and the MT assembly inhibitor activity are both developmentally regulated and disappear after oocyte maturation with progesterone.

publication date

  • January 2000