Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell biology: New insights into the life of microtubules

Date:
July 2, 2012
Source:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU)
Summary:
Every second, around 25 million cell divisions take place in our bodies. This process is driven by microtubule filaments which continually grow and shrink. A new study shows how so-called motor proteins in the cytosol can control their dynamics.

Every second, around 25 million cell divisions take place in our bodies. This process is driven by microtubule filaments which continually grow and shrink. A new study shows how so-called motor proteins in the cytosol can control their dynamics.

The cytoskeleton plays a central role in the process of cell division. It is composed in large part of protein filaments known as microtubules, which also help determine the size, shape and mobility of a cell. In a new study, LMU biophysicist Erwin Frey and his colleagues Anna Melbinger and Louis Reese have used a theoretical model to show how cells control the construction and breakdown of microtubules. The dy-namics of this process affect how cells divide, and how they maintain the cytoskeleton. In particular, it is responsible for regulating the size and shape of the mitotic spindle.

Easy come, easy go

Theoretical modeling has now revealed that the regulation of microtubule length relies on the length of the filament itself: The longer the filament the more motor proteins can attach to it. These all move towards the 'plus end' of the microtubule and tend to pile up as they do so. Upon arrival at the plus-end they shorten the filament. In parallel, new microtubule building blocks bind to precisely the same 'plus end' through spontaneous polymerization from the surrounding cytosol, and the filament grows.

It has now been demonstrated that such interplay between growth and length-dependent shrinkage indeed results in the maintenance of a precisely regulated microtubule length. This kind of length regulation might be essential for many intracellular tasks which depend on microtubules of a certain length.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna Melbinger, Louis Reese, Erwin Frey. Microtubule Length Regulation by Molecular Motors. Physical Review Letters, 2012; 108 (25) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.258104

Cite This Page:

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Cell biology: New insights into the life of microtubules." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702162207.htm>.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). (2012, July 2). Cell biology: New insights into the life of microtubules. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702162207.htm
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Cell biology: New insights into the life of microtubules." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702162207.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins