Kinetochore-driven outgrowth of microtubules is a central contributor to kinetochore fiber maturation in crane-fly spermatocytes
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We use liquid crystal polarized light imaging to record the life histories of single kinetochore (K-) fibers in living crane-fly spermatocytes, from their origins as nascent K-fibers in early prometaphase to their fully matured form at metaphase, just before anaphase onset. Increased image brightness due to increased retardance reveals where microtubules are added during K-fiber formation. Analysis of experimentally generated bipolar spindles with only one centrosome, as well as of regular, bicentrosomal spindles, reveals that microtubule addition occurs at the kinetochore-proximal ends of K-fibers, and added polymer expands poleward, giving rise to the robust K-fibers of metaphase cells. These results are not compatible with a model for K-fiber formation in which microtubules are added to nascent fibers solely by repetitive “search and capture” of centrosomal microtubule plus ends. Our interpretation is that capture of centrosomal microtubules—when deployed—is limited to early stages in establishment of nascent K-fibers, which then mature through kinetochore-driven outgrowth. When kinetochore capture of centrosomal microtubules is not used, the polar ends of K-fibers grow outward from their kinetochores and usually converge to make a centrosome-free pole.
© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Molecular Biology of the Cell 25 (2014): 1437-1445, doi:10.1091/mbc.E14-01-0008.
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