Severing of stable microtubules by a mitotically activated protein in Xenopus egg extracts. Academic Article uri icon


  • Eukaryotic cells disassemble and reorganize their cytoskeleton during the cell cycle and in response to environmental cues. Disassembly of the actin cytoskeleton is aided by proteins that sever filamentous actin, but microtubule-severing proteins thus far have not been identified. Here, we describe an activity in extracts from Xenopus eggs that rapidly severs stable microtubules along their length. Severing is elicited by a protein(s) whose activity is greatly stimulated during mitosis through a posttranslational mechanism. The microtubule-severing factor may be involved in disassembling the interphase microtubule network prior to constructing the mitotic spindle.

publication date

  • February 22, 1991

published in