Cultured human polymorphonuclear leukocytes exposed to the tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) spread on the substratum and undergo centrosome splitting. The two centrioles may separate by a distance of several micrometers, each being surrounded by an aster of microtubules. Here we show that the centriole/aster complexes are in constant, rapid motion through the cytoplasm, carrying with them some of the cytoplasmic granules while pushing aside others, or deforming and displacing the nucleus. An analysis of this unique motility phenomenon was undertaken. We show that intact microtubules are required for TPA-induced centrosome splitting and aster motility, but not for cell spreading. More importantly, disruption of the actin network inhibits both centrosome splitting and cell spreading, and even reverses splitting (induces convergence and fusion of asters) in polymorphonuclear leukocytes pretreated with TPA alone. These observations indicate the existence of a dynamic relationship between microtubules and actin networks and provide evidence for a role of actin in determining the position of the centrosome by way of interaction with the microtubules radiating from it.

This content is only available as a PDF.