News FocusCell Biology

Nuclear Transport Protein Does Double Duty in Mitosis

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Science  21 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5418, pp. 1260-1261
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5418.1260

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New work shows that Ran, a protein that plays a key role in nuclear transport, has another job as well. It's also a trigger for the formation of the mitotic spindle, an array of polymer threads called microtubules that help draw the chromosomes to the opposite sides of the dividing cell. Several teams, two of which report their results in this issue (see pp. 1356 and 1359), have evidence indicating that Ran, when bound to the high-energy molecule guanosine triphosphate (GTP), prompts the spindle to form. Exactly how RanGTP does this is unclear, but the results may help researchers resolve long-standing questions about the timing and progression of this early stage of cell division.