Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Microtubule repair and rescue

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Science  04 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6312, pp. 594-595
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6312.594-d

The microtubule network that forms the cytoskeleton is essential for cell polarization and migration. Microtubules tend to grow slowly, and they can shrink rapidly in a process known as catastrophe. Aumeier et al. report that where the network is dense, microtubules bend and cross over, leading to increased mechanical stress and filament damage. Damaged filaments can self-repair in a process that also prevents complete depolymerization. Most of the tubulin incorporates into the growing ends of microtubules, but some incorporates along the shaft of preexisting microtubules at damaged regions. This repair-and-rescue mechanism provides insight into how the network can remain stable in this highly dynamic system.

Nat. Cell Biol. 18, 1054 (2016).

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