Fast growth of microtubules is essential for rapid assembly of the microtubule cytoskeleton during cell proliferation and differentiation. XMAP215 belongs to a conserved family of proteins that promote microtubule growth. To determine how XMAP215 accelerates growth, we developed a single-molecule assay to visualize directly XMAP215-GFP interacting with… (More)
Vertebrate somitogenesis is a rhythmically repeated morphogenetic process. The dependence of somitogenesis dynamics on axial position and temperature has not been investigated systematically in any species. Here we use multiple embryo time-lapse imaging to precisely estimate somitogenesis period and somite length under various conditions in the zebrafish… (More)
Neurons, like all cells, face the problem that tubulin forms microtubules with too many or too few protofilaments (pfs). Cells overcome this heterogeneity with the γ-tubulin ring complex, which provides a nucleation template for 13-pf microtubules. Doublecortin (DCX), a protein that stabilizes microtubules in developing neurons, also nucleates 13-pf… (More)
Microtubules are dynamic polymers of αβ-tubulin that form diverse cellular structures, such as the mitotic spindle for cell division, the backbone of neurons, and axonemes. To control the architecture of microtubule networks, microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) and motor proteins regulate microtubule growth, shrinkage, and the transitions between these… (More)
Optical tweezers are an important tool for studying cellular and molecular biomechanics. We present a robust optical tweezers device with advanced features including: multiple optical traps, acousto-optic trap steering, and back focal plane interferometry position detection. We integrate these features into an upright microscope, with no compromise to its… (More)
Midzone microtubules keep chromosomes apart after segregation and provide a platform for cytokinesis factors. Reporting recently in Cell, Subramanian et al. (2013) describe how the motor protein kinesin-4 and the microtubule-associated protein PRC1 work together to mark microtubule ends for incorporation into the midzone in a length-dependent manner.
The direct observation of single kinesins and microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) has become a core tool for cytoskeleton research. We outline several variations to the core experiment that allow the researcher to explore structural and biophysical mechanisms underlying kinesin motility and MAP function.
What happens when two types of kinesin transport the same cargo? Each motor experiences a load coming from the others. These loads are sufficient to explain the emergent properties of the cargo's motion.
Microtubules are not like other polymers. Whereas polymers such as F-actin will grow continuously as long as the subunit concentration is high enough, a steadily growing microtubule can suddenly shrink even when there is ample αβ-tubulin around. This remarkable behavior was discovered in 1984 when Tim Mitchison and Marc Kirschner deduced that microtubules… (More)
Accurate measurements of kinetic rate constants for interacting biomolecules are crucial for understanding the mechanisms underlying intracellular signalling pathways. The magnitude of binding rates plays a very important molecular regulatory role which can lead to very different cellular physiological responses under different conditions. Here, we extend… (More)