The interface between kinetochores and microtubules in the mitotic spindle is known to be dynamic. Kinetochore microtubules can both polymerize and depolymerize, and their dynamic behavior is intimately related to chromosome movement. In this paper we investigate the influence of kinetochores on the inherent dynamic behavior of microtubules using an in vitro assay. The dynamics of microtubule plus ends attached to kinetochores are compared to those of free plus ends in the same solution. We show that microtubules attached to kinetochores exhibit the full range of dynamic instability behavior, but at altered transition rates. Surprisingly, we find that kinetochores increase the rate at which microtubule ends transit from growing to shrinking. This result contradicts our previous findings (Mitchison, T. J., and M. W. Kirschner, 1985b) for technical reasons which are discussed. We suggest that catalysis of the growing to shrinking transition by kinetochores may account for selective depolymerization of kinetochore microtubules during anaphase in vivo. We also investigate the effects of a nonhydrolyzable ATP analogue on kinetochore microtubule dynamics. We find that 5' adenylylimido diphosphate induces a rigor state at the kinetochore-microtubule interface, which prevents depolymerization of the microtubule.

This content is only available as a PDF.