NuMA recruits dynein activity to microtubule minus-ends at mitosis

Elife. 2017 Nov 29;6:e29328. doi: 10.7554/eLife.29328.


To build the spindle at mitosis, motors exert spatially regulated forces on microtubules. We know that dynein pulls on mammalian spindle microtubule minus-ends, and this localized activity at ends is predicted to allow dynein to cluster microtubules into poles. How dynein becomes enriched at minus-ends is not known. Here, we use quantitative imaging and laser ablation to show that NuMA targets dynactin to minus-ends, localizing dynein activity there. NuMA is recruited to new minus-ends independently of dynein and more quickly than dynactin; both NuMA and dynactin display specific, steady-state binding at minus-ends. NuMA localization to minus-ends involves a C-terminal region outside NuMA's canonical microtubule-binding domain and is independent of minus-end binders γ-TuRC, CAMSAP1, and KANSL1/3. Both NuMA's minus-end-binding and dynein-dynactin-binding modules are required to rescue focused, bipolar spindle organization. Thus, NuMA may serve as a mitosis-specific minus-end cargo adaptor, targeting dynein activity to minus-ends to cluster spindle microtubules into poles.

Keywords: Potorous tridactylus; cell biology; dynein; human; microtubule; minus-end; mitosis; spindle.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Line
  • Dyneins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Mitosis*
  • Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism


  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • NUMA1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins
  • Dyneins