Microtubules acquire resistance from mechanical breakage through intralumenal acetylation

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Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pp. 328-332
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8764

Acetylation keeps microtubules strong

Cells need microtubules for intracellular transport and to avoid being crushed. On investigating microtubule breakage in live fibroblasts, Xu et al. found that if they were not acetylated, long-lived microtubules underwent frequent rupture after buckling. Acetylation makes microtubules more mechanically stable, facilitates sliding between filaments, and makes the lattice more plastic.

Science, this issue p. 328