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Helical Twist and Rotational Forces in the Mitotic Spindle

by Iva M. Tolić 1,*, Maja Novak 1,2 and Nenad Pavin 2,*
1
Division of Molecular Biology, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Bijenička cesta 54, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Bijenička cesta 32, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomolecules 2019, 9(4), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9040132
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 1 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cytoskeleton and Regulation of Mitosis)
The mitotic spindle segregates chromosomes into two daughter cells during cell division. This process relies on the precise regulation of forces acting on chromosomes as the cell progresses through mitosis. The forces in the spindle are difficult to directly measure using the available experimental techniques. Here, we review the ideas and recent advances of how forces can be determined from the spindle shape. By using these approaches, it has been shown that tension and compression coexist along a single kinetochore fiber, which are balanced by a bridging fiber between sister kinetochore fibers. An extension of this approach to three dimensions revealed that microtubule bundles have rich shapes, and extend not simply like meridians on the Earth’s surface but, rather, twisted in a helical manner. Such complex shapes are due to rotational forces, which, in addition to linear forces, act in the spindle and may be generated by motor proteins such as kinesin-5. These findings open new questions for future studies, to understand the mechanisms of rotational forces and reveal their biological roles in cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: mitotic spindle; forces; microtubules; motor proteins; rotational forces; torque mitotic spindle; forces; microtubules; motor proteins; rotational forces; torque
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Tolić, I.M.; Novak, M.; Pavin, N. Helical Twist and Rotational Forces in the Mitotic Spindle. Biomolecules 2019, 9, 132.

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