A new method reveals microtubule minus ends throughout the meiotic spindle. Academic Article uri icon


  • Anastral meiotic spindles are thought to be organized differently from astral mitotic spindles, but the field lacks the basic structural information required to describe and model them, including the location of microtubule-nucleating sites and minus ends. We measured the distributions of oriented microtubules in metaphase anastral spindles in Xenopus laevis extracts by fluorescence speckle microscopy and cross-correlation analysis. We localized plus ends by tubulin incorporation and combined this with the orientation data to infer the localization of minus ends. We found that minus ends are localized throughout the spindle, sparsely at the equator and at higher concentrations near the poles. Based on these data, we propose a model for maintenance of the metaphase steady-state that depends on continuous nucleation of microtubules near chromatin, followed by sorting and outward transport of stabilized minus ends, and, eventually, their loss near poles.

publication date

  • November 6, 2006