The spindle: a dynamic assembly of microtubules and motors

Nat Cell Biol. 2001 Jan;3(1):E28-34. doi: 10.1038/35050669.


In all eukaryotes, a microtubule-based structure known as the spindle is responsible for accurate chromosome segregation during cell division. Spindle assembly and function require localized regulation of microtubule dynamics and the activity of a variety of microtubule-based motor proteins. Recent work has begun to uncover the molecular mechanisms that underpin this process. Here we describe the structural and dynamic properties of the spindle, and introduce the current concepts regarding how a bipolar spindle is assembled and how it functions to segregate chromosomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Chromosome Segregation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure*


  • Molecular Motor Proteins