Spindle Scaling Is Governed by Cell Boundary Regulation of Microtubule Nucleation.

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Cellular organelles such as the mitotic spindle adjust their size to the dimensions of the cell. It is widely understood that spindle scaling is governed by regulation of microtubule polymerization. Here, we use quantitative microscopy in living zebrafish embryos and Xenopus egg extracts in combination with theory to show that microtubule polymerization dynamics are insufficient to scale spindles and only contribute below a critical cell size. In contrast, microtubule nucleation governs spindle scaling for all cell sizes. We show that this hierarchical regulation arises from the partitioning of a nucleation inhibitor to the cell membrane. Our results reveal that cells differentially regulate microtubule number and length using distinct geometric cues to maintain a functional spindle architecture over a large range of cell sizes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4973-4983
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent biology : CB
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

External IDs

PubMed 33217321
Scopus 85097417308


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