Microtubule release and capture in epithelial cells

Biol Cell. May-Jun 1999;91(4-5):331-41.


Many differentiated cells including polarised epithelial cells display a non-radial, apico-basal microtubule array. In some cells the centrosome disassembles and new nucleating sites are created at more appropriate locations. In others the centrosome remains, but relatively few microtubules radiate from it's immediate environs. Instead, the majority of the microtubule minus-ends are associated with apical cell surface sites. Centrosomal microtubule release and capture is evidently a mechanism exploited by some polarised epithelial cells as a means of producing non-centrosomal, apico-basal microtubule arrays. This involves microtubule nucleation at the centrosome, release and subsequent translocation and capture at the apical sites. Two functionally distinct centrosomal complexes dedicated to the control of microtubule nucleation and anchorage have been suggested to be essential and universal features of all centrosomes. The centrosomal proteins ninein and R2 are potential microtubule anchoring proteins and their discovery has exciting implications for centrosomal organisation and microtubule positioning in cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centrosome / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism*