Tension applied through the Dam1 complex promotes microtubule elongation providing a direct mechanism for length control in mitosis

Nat Cell Biol. 2007 Jul;9(7):832-7. doi: 10.1038/ncb1609. Epub 2007 Jun 17.


In dividing cells, kinetochores couple chromosomes to the tips of growing and shortening microtubule fibres and tension at the kinetochore-microtubule interface promotes fibre elongation. Tension-dependent microtubule fibre elongation is thought to be essential for coordinating chromosome alignment and separation, but the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Using optical tweezers, we applied tension to a model of the kinetochore-microtubule interface composed of the yeast Dam1 complex bound to individual dynamic microtubule tips. Higher tension decreased the likelihood that growing tips would begin to shorten, slowed shortening, and increased the likelihood that shortening tips would resume growth. These effects are similar to the effects of tension on kinetochore-attached microtubule fibres in many cell types, suggesting that we have reconstituted a direct mechanism for microtubule-length control in mitosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology*
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology*
  • Kinetochores / physiology*
  • Microspheres
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Optical Tweezers
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / physiology*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DAM1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins