The capacity of the centrosome to influence the lattice structure of nucleated microtubules was studied in vitro. Brain microtubules self-assembled to give predominantly (98%) 14-protofilament microtubules. However, under exactly the same conditions of assembly they grew off of purified centrosomes from neuroblastoma cells to give mostly (82%) 13-protofilament microtubules. Thus, the nucleation sites on the centrosome constrained the microtubule lattice to yield the number of protofilaments usually found in vivo.

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