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During the formation of the metaphase spindle in animal somatic cells, kinetochore microtubule bundles (K fibers) are often disconnected from centrosomes, because they are released from centrosomes or directly generated from chromosomes. To create the tightly focused, diamond-shaped appearance of the bipolar spindle, K fibers need to be interconnected with(More)
The Computational Cell Biology Conference, held jointly by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Wellcome Trust, was convened in the grand surroundings of Hinxton Hall near Cambridge, UK. The high quality of the research presented at the meeting confirmed that the field of computational cell biology is maturing rapidly, which mirrors the progression of(More)
An aster of microtubules is a set of flexible polar filaments with dynamic plus ends that irradiate from a common location at which the minus ends of the filaments are found. Processive soluble oligomeric motor complexes can bind simultaneously to two microtubules, and thus exert forces between two asters. Using computer simulations, I have explored(More)
Microtubule (MT) nucleation not only occurs from centrosomes, but also in large part from dispersed nucleation sites. The subsequent sorting of short MTs into networks like the mitotic spindle requires molecular motors that laterally slide overlapping MTs and bundling proteins that statically connect MTs. How bundling proteins interfere with MT sliding is(More)
In eukaryotic cells, microtubules and their associated motor proteins can be organized into various large-scale patterns. Using a simplified experimental system combined with computer simulations, we examined how the concentrations and kinetic parameters of the motors contribute to their collective behavior. We observed self-organization of generic(More)
Cellular structures are established and maintained through a dynamic interplay between assembly and regulatory processes. Self-organization of molecular components provides a variety of possible spatial structures: the regulatory machinery chooses the most appropriate to express a given cellular function. Here we study the extent and the characteristics of(More)
Interactions between microtubules and the cell cortex play a critical role in positioning organelles in a variety of biological contexts. Here we used Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to study how cortex-microtubule interactions position the mitotic spindle in response to polarity cues. Imaging EBP-2::GFP and YFP::alpha-tubulin revealed that(More)
The simplest animal eyes are eyespots composed of two cells only: a photoreceptor and a shading pigment cell. They resemble Darwin's 'proto-eyes', considered to be the first eyes to appear in animal evolution. Eyespots cannot form images but enable the animal to sense the direction of light. They are characteristic for the zooplankton larvae of marine(More)
During spindle assembly, chromosomes generate gradients of microtubule stabilization through a reaction-diffusion process, but how this is achieved is not well understood. We measured the spatial distribution of microtubule aster asymmetry around chromosomes by incubating centrosomes and micropatterned chromatin patches in frog egg extracts. We then(More)
Female meiotic spindles in many organisms form in the absence of centrosomes, the organelle typically associated with microtubule (MT) nucleation. Previous studies have proposed that these meiotic spindles arise from RanGTP-mediated MT nucleation in the vicinity of chromatin; however, whether this process is sufficient for spindle formation is unknown.(More)