7 February 2011 00:00 hrs.
The meiotic spindle: stable organization of stochastic components.

Francois Nedelec, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany


Martijn Huynen, CMBI, NCMLS, Nijmegen

07-02-2011 00:00:00Europe/AmsterdamThe meiotic spindle: stable organization of stochastic components.

Remarks / more information:

Francois-NedelecThe metaphase spindle is a dynamic bipolar structure crucial for proper chromosome segregation, but how microtubules (MTs) are organized within the bipolar architecture remains controversial. To explore MT organization along the pole-to-pole axis, we simulated meiotic spindle assembly in two dimensions using dynamic MTs, a MT crosslinking force, and a kinesin-5-like motor. The bipolar structures that form consist of antiparallel fluxing MTs, but spindle pole formation requires the addition of a NuMA-like minus end crosslinker and directed transport of MT depolymerization activity toward minus ends. Dynamic instability and minus end depolymerization generate realistic MT lifetimes and a truncated exponential MT length distribution. Keeping the number of MTs in the simulation constant, we explored the influence of two different MT nucleation pathways on spindle organization. When nucleation occurs throughout the spindle, the simulation quantitatively reproduces features of meiotic spindles assembled in Xenopus egg extracts.

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