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    The mitotic spindle is a self-organizing molecular machine, where hundreds of different molecules continuously interact to maintain a dynamic steady state. While our understanding of key molecular players in spindle assembly is significant, it is still largely unknown how the spindle's material properties emerge from molecular interactions. Here, we use correlative fluorescence imaging and label-free three-dimensional optical diffraction tomography (ODT) to measure the Xenopus spindle's mass density distribution. While the spindle has been commonly referred to as a denser phase of the cytoplasm, we find that it has the same density as its surrounding, which makes it neutrally buoyant. Molecular perturbations suggest that spindle mass density can be modulated by tuning microtubule nucleation and dynamics. Together, ODT provides direct, unbiased, and quantitative information of the spindle's emergent physical properties-essential to advance predictive frameworks of spindle assembly and function. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Abin Biswas, Kyoohyun Kim, Gheorghe Cojoc, Jochen Guck, Simone Reber. The Xenopus spindle is as dense as the surrounding cytoplasm. Developmental cell. 2021 Apr 05;56(7):967-975.e5

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    PMID: 33823135

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