Antimitotic activity of the potent tumor inhibitor maytansine

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Science  19 Sep 1975:
Vol. 189, Issue 4207, pp. 1002-1005
DOI: 10.1126/science.1241159


Maytansine, at 6x10(-8)M, irreversibly inhibits cell division in eggs of sea urchins and clams. It causes the disappearance of a mitotic apparatus or prevents one from forming if added at early stages. Maytansine does not affect formation of the mitotic organizing center but does inhibit in vitro polymerization of tubulin. Maytansine and vincristine inhibit in vitro polymerization of tubulin at about the same concentrations, but vincristine is about 100 times less effective as an inhibitor of cleavage in marine eggs.

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