Cell Biology

Division of Labor

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Science  18 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5716, pp. 1693
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5716.1693d

Eukaryotic cells contain a dynamic array of cytoskeletal elements—microtubules—that organize key events in the cell's life cycle, including cell division. The regulation of microtubule polymerization and depolymerization, processes that both occur at the so-called plus ends of microtubules, must therefore be carefully controlled. Mennella et al.looked at the role of two kinesins (KLPs) and how they cooperate to control appropriate microtubule dynamics. KLP10A targeted microtubules via the microtubule plus-end tracking protein EB1 and stimulated microtubule catastrophe—a process in which a growing microtubule suddenly changes its behavior and shrinks rapidly. KLP59C also stimulated microtubule depolymerization, but by suppressing a process termed rescue—when the behavior of a shrinking microtubule is converted to growth. Both motors were found at the plus ends of distinct subpopulations of microtubules (KLP10A on polymerizing microtubules and KLP59C on depolymerizing microtubule). Thus, there appears to be a division of labor within cells between these two molecular motors to locally control microtubule dynamics. — SMH

Nature Cell Biol. 7, 235 (2005).

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