Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Department of Biological Sciences


Microtubule proteins isolated from calf brain will undergo gelation-contraction in the presence of ATP. We have now examined this process by video-enhanced contrast microscopy. After ATP addition to steady-state microtubules, slow (1-5 micron/min), linear movements of particles and microtubules toward aggregation centers occur. The resulting structures resemble mitotic spindle asters. During the time when gel contraction occurs, asters move (at 1-5 micron/min) toward other nearby asters. This is accompanied by the apparent shortening of the microtubules running between the asters. This is the first example of isolated microtubules undergoing a process that has similarities to half-spindle shortening during anaphase A. Formation of aster-like structures without preformed microtubule organizing centers raises the possibility that a similar process may contribute to microtubule organization in vivo.

Original Citation

Weisenberg RC, Allen RD, Inoue S. ATP-dependent formation and motility of aster-like structures with isolated calf brain microtubule proteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986;83(6):1728-1732. doi:10.1073/pnas.83.6.1728