Dynamic instability characterizes the steady-state behavior of microtubules in vitro whereby polymer mass remains constant, while individual microtubules in the population may either grow or shrink. Video-enhanced contrast light microscopy was used to directly observe dynamic length changes in native, MAP-containing microtubules from squid axoplasm. We wanted to determine whether dynamic instability characterizes the steady-state behavior of axoplasmic microtubules in vitro. The lengths of a representative population of over 400 microtubules were analyzed. "Dynamic" microtubules were found to represent about 2 % of the population. This observation is different from that described for cultured cells or microtubules assembled from PC-purified tubulin where most microtubules were either growing or shrinking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology