Severing of stable microtubules by a mitotically activated protein in Xenopus egg extracts

Cell. 1991 Feb 22;64(4):827-39. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(91)90511-v.


Eukaryotic cells disassemble and reorganize their cytoskeleton during the cell cycle and in response to environmental cues. Disassembly of the actin cytoskeleton is aided by proteins that sever filamentous actin, but microtubule-severing proteins thus far have not been identified. Here, we describe an activity in extracts from Xenopus eggs that rapidly severs stable microtubules along their length. Severing is elicited by a protein(s) whose activity is greatly stimulated during mitosis through a posttranslational mechanism. The microtubule-severing factor may be involved in disassembling the interphase microtubule network prior to constructing the mitotic spindle.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Imidodiphosphate / pharmacology
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Edetic Acid / pharmacology
  • Egtazic Acid / pharmacology
  • Interphase
  • Kinetics
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Mitosis
  • Oocytes / cytology*
  • Oocytes / ultrastructure
  • Paclitaxel
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mos
  • Time Factors
  • Tubulin / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Alkaloids
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tubulin
  • Adenylyl Imidodiphosphate
  • Egtazic Acid
  • Edetic Acid
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mos
  • Paclitaxel