Nuclear Components With Microtubule-Organizing Properties in Multicellular Eukaryotes: Functional and Evolutionary Considerations

Int Rev Cytol. 1997;175:91-135. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(08)62126-9.


The nucleus and the microtubular cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells appear to be structurally and functionally interrelated. Together they constitute a "cell body". One of the most important components of this body is a primary microtubule-organizing center (MTOC-I) located on or near the nuclear surface and composed of material that, in addition to constitutive centrosomal material, also comprises some nuclear matrix components. The MTOC-I shares a continuity with the mitotic spindle and, in animal cells, with the centrosome also. Secondary microtubule-organizing centers (MTOC-IIs) are a special feature of walled plant cells and are found at the plasma membrane where they organize arrays of cortical MTs that are essential for ordered cell wall synthesis and hence for cellular morphogenesis. MTOC-IIs are held to be similar in origin to the MTOC-I, but their material has been translocated to the cell periphery, perhaps by MTs organized and radiating from the MTOC-I. Many intranuclear, matrix-related components have been identified to participate in MT organization during mitosis and cytokinesis; some of them also seem to be related to the condensation and decondensation of chromatin during the mitotic chromosome cycle.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / ultrastructure
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Plant Cells
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure