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Force- and length-dependent catastrophe activities explain interphase microtubule organization in fission yeast

By Dietrich Foethke, Tatyana Makushok, Damian Brunner and François Nédélec


The cytoskeleton is essential for the maintenance of cell morphology in eukaryotes. In fission yeast, for example, polarized growth sites are organized by actin, whereas microtubules (MTs) acting upstream control where growth occurs. Growth is limited to the cell poles when MTs undergo catastrophes there and not elsewhere on the cortex. Here, we report that the modulation of MT dynamics by forces as observed in vitro can quantitatively explain the localization of MT catastrophes in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. However, we found that it is necessary to add length-dependent catastrophe rates to make the model fully consistent with other previously measured traits of MTs. We explain the measured statistical distribution of MT–cortex contact times and re-examine the curling behavior of MTs in unbranched straight tea1Δ cells. Importantly, the model demonstrates that MTs together with associated proteins such as depolymerizing kinesins are, in principle, sufficient to mark the cell poles

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Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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    1. (2002). Roles of fission yeast tea1p in the localization of polarity factors and in organizing the microtubular cytoskeleton.
    2. (2006). Yeast kinesin-8 depolymerizes microtubules in a lengthdependent manner.
    3. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Licence. Modelling microtubule organization in fission yeast

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