Microtubule-Organizing Centers

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Oct 6:33:51-75. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100616-060615. Epub 2017 Jun 23.


The organization of microtubule networks is crucial for controlling chromosome segregation during cell division, for positioning and transport of different organelles, and for cell polarity and morphogenesis. The geometry of microtubule arrays strongly depends on the localization and activity of the sites where microtubules are nucleated and where their minus ends are anchored. Such sites are often clustered into structures known as microtubule-organizing centers, which include the centrosomes in animals and spindle pole bodies in fungi. In addition, other microtubules, as well as membrane compartments such as the cell nucleus, the Golgi apparatus, and the cell cortex, can nucleate, stabilize, and tether microtubule minus ends. These activities depend on microtubule-nucleating factors, such as γ-tubulin-containing complexes and their activators and receptors, and microtubule minus end-stabilizing proteins with their binding partners. Here, we provide an overview of the current knowledge on how such factors work together to control microtubule organization in different systems.

Keywords: CAMSAP; Golgi; centrosome; microtubule minus end; microtubule nucleation; γ-tubulin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microtubule-Organizing Center / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism