Self-organization of treadmilling microtubules into a polar array

Trends Cell Biol. 2002 Oct;12(10):462-5. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(02)02369-3.


The centrosome is normally thought to determine the cell center and to dictate the formation of a radial array of microtubules that defines the spatial organization of cytoplasm. However, experiments indicate the existence of a mechanism for organization of a centered microtubule array that is independent of the centrosome. Here, we formulate a model of treadmilling dynamics of non-centrosomal microtubules that predicts a spontaneously established, polarized distribution of microtubule orientation. Based on this model, we propose that the autonomous ability of non-centrosomal microtubules to form a polarized array arises from their treadmilling within the space constrained by the cell boundary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology
  • Microtubules / physiology*