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The main goal of a dividing cell is to distribute its genetic material equally between two daughter cells. Each of the two sister chromatids comprising each chromosome should go into one of the daughter cells. This is possible thanks to polar protein polymers called microtubules, which form a structure called "spindle" during mitosis. Microtubules are one of the basic elements of the cytoskeleton, but at the same time they are highly dynamic. Minus ends of the microtubules attach to the two poles of the spindle, while their plus ends are constantly growing or shrinking, and are also able to attach to the chromosomes and to move them. Chromosomes attach to the microtubule ends with a special protein super-complex called kinetochore. Each sister chromatid in a pair attaches to the microtubules emanating from a corresponding spindle pole. Kinetochores are attached to the dynamic plus ends of the microtubules, but tubulin subunits are still able to attach and detach to these attached ends. One of the most important questions in mitosis is understanding of the mechanism that allows such attachment to be stable (since unstable attachments lead to chromosome loss and aneuploidy) yet dynamic (arrest of the microtubule dynamics stops mitosis). More than 100 proteins comprising the kinetochore are known today, but there is no clear mechanical view on the molecular machine that forms kinetochore-microtubule attachment. The difficulties in understanding this mechanism are due to the variety of theoretical views on the principle of such machine, as well as limited number of biochemically isolated candidates to test these hypotheses experimentally. Therefore, investigation of the properties of putative couplers of microtubule depolymerization and chromosome movement is an important task.


V A Volkov, F I Ataullakhanov. Investigation of molecular machine that integrates microtubules depolymerization and chromosomes movement in mitosis]. Rossiĭskii fiziologicheskiĭ zhurnal imeni I.M. Sechenova / Rossiĭskaia akademiia nauk. 2013 Feb;99(2):153-65

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PMID: 23650730

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