The Distribution of Active Force Generators Controls Mitotic Spindle Position

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Science  25 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5632, pp. 518-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086560

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During unequal cell divisions a mitotic spindle is eccentrically positioned before cell cleavage. To determine the basis of the net force imbalance that causes spindle displacement in one-cell Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, we fragmented centrosomes with an ultraviolet laser. Analysis of the mean and variance of fragment speeds suggests that the force imbalance is due to a larger number of force generators pulling on astral microtubules of the posterior aster relative to the anterior aster. Moreover, activation of heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide– binding protein (Gprotein) α subunits is required to generate these astral forces.

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