Chromosome-microtubule interactions during mitosis

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2002;18:193-219. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.18.032002.132412. Epub 2002 Apr 2.


Spindle microtubules interact with mitotic chromosomes, binding to their kinetochores to generate forces that are important for accurate chromosome segregation. Motor enzymes localized both at kinetochores and spindle poles help to form the biologically significant attachments between spindle fibers and their cargo, but microtubule-associated proteins without motor activity contribute to these junctions in important ways. This review examines the molecules necessary for chromosome-microtubule interaction in a range of well-studied organisms, using biological diversity to identify the factors that are essential for organized chromosome movement. We conclude that microtubule dynamics and the proteins that control them are likely to be more important for mitosis than the current enthusiasm for motor enzymes would suggest.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centromere / enzymology
  • Chromosomes / genetics*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / cytology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology*
  • Genes, cdc / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores / enzymology
  • Microtubules / genetics*
  • Mitosis / genetics*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / genetics*
  • Spindle Apparatus / genetics*


  • Molecular Motor Proteins