Role for microtubules in centrosome doubling in Chinese hamster ovary cells

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1999;42(1):60-72. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0169(1999)42:1<60::AID-CM6>3.0.CO;2-7.


The centrosome must be replicated once, and only once, during each cell cycle. To achieve this somatic cells need to synthesize centrosome proteins, target those centrosome proteins to the parental centrosome, and then assemble the centrosome subunits into a functional organelle. The mechanisms that underlie each of these processes are not known. Studies were performed to investigate whether cellular microtubules are involved in centrosome doubling events. For these experiments, CHO cells were arrested in either hydroxyurea (HU) alone or in HU plus a microtubule inhibitor for 3640 h. The cells then were induced to enter mitosis and the numbers of spindle poles/centrosomes were counted following processing of the cells for immunofluorescence microscopy using anticentrosome antiserum. These studies demonstrated that centrosome replication events occurred in cells arrested with either HU alone or HU and taxol while centrosome replication did not occur in cells treated with HU and either nocodazole or colcemid. Immunoblot analysis determined that centrosome proteins were synthesized in HU/nocodazole-arrested cells and demonstrated that the role of microtubules in the centrosome replication process is not to ensure the synthesis of centrosome subunits. Rather, our results suggest that microtubules may be involved in the transport/targeting of centrosome subunits to the parental centrosome during duplication events. For microtubules to contribute to the transport of centrosome subunits during centrosome doubling, centrosome subunits would need to be able to bind to microtubules. To test this, co-sedimentation studies were performed and it was determined that the centrosome proteins, though overproduced under these conditions, remained soluble in HU/nocodazole-treated cells and co-pelleted with taxol-stabilized microtubules in the presence of GTP and AMP-PNP. Moreover, co-sedimentation of one of the centrosome proteins, PCM-1, with microtubules could be inhibited by pre-incubation of extracts with antibodies against dynactin. Together, these data suggest that during centrosome replication in somatic mammalian cells, PCM-1, and perhaps other centrosome components, are targeted to the centrosome via transport along microtubules by motor complexes that include dynein/dynactin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Centrosome / drug effects
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Dynactin Complex
  • Dyneins / analysis
  • Hydroxyurea / pharmacology
  • Immunoblotting
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Nocodazole / pharmacology
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Spindle Apparatus / drug effects
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Dynactin Complex
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Tubulin
  • Dyneins
  • Paclitaxel
  • Nocodazole
  • Hydroxyurea