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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)