Self-Assembly of Microtubule Tactoids

Prashali Chauhan, Sumon Sahu, Niaz Goodbee, Sophia Martin, Hong Beom Lee, Ruell Branch, Jennifer M. Schwarz, Jennifer L. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The cytoskeleton is responsible for major internal organization and re-organization within the cell, all without a manager to direct the changes. This is especially the case during mitosis or meiosis, where the microtubules form the spindle during cell division. The spindle is the machinery used to segregate genetic material during cell division. Toward creating self-organized spindles in vitro, we recently developed a technique to reconstitute microtubules into spindle-like assemblies with a minimal set of microtubule-associated proteins and crowding agents. Specifically, MAP65 was used, which is an antiparallel microtubule crosslinker from plants, a homolog of Ase1 from yeast and PRC1 from mammalian organisms. This crosslinker self-organizes microtubules into long, thin, spindle-like microtubule self-organized assemblies. These assemblies are also similar to liquid crystal tactoids, and microtubules could be used as mesoscale mesogens. Here, protocols are presented for creating these microtubule tactoids, as well as for characterizing the shape of the assemblies using fluorescence microscopy and the mobility of the constituents using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63952
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number184
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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