Emergent Properties of the Metaphase Spindle

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2015 Jul 1;7(7):a015784. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a015784.


A metaphase spindle is a complex structure consisting of microtubules and a myriad of different proteins that modulate microtubule dynamics together with chromatin and kinetochores. A decade ago, a full description of spindle formation and function seemed a lofty goal. Here, we describe how work in the last 10 years combining cataloging of spindle components, the characterization of their biochemical activities using single-molecule techniques, and theory have advanced our knowledge. Taken together, these advances suggest that a full understanding of spindle assembly and function may soon be possible.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Metaphase*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / chemistry
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology
  • Microtubules / chemistry
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Spindle Apparatus / chemistry
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins