A lysed cell system was developed to determine whether tubulin antibody can block the nucleation of exogenous tubulin at kinetochores and centrosomes. Mitotic PtK2 cells were pretreated with colcemid to remove all endogenous microtubules and were lysed with Triton X-100 in PIPES-EGTA-Mg++ buffer. This procedure left centrosomes, chromosomes, and kinetochores intact as determined by electron microscopy of thin-sectioned cells. Exposure of the lysed cells to phorphocellulose-purified tubulin dimers at 37 degrees C in the presence of 1 mM GTP resulted in site-specific nucleation of microtubules at centrosomes and kinetochores. Treatment of the lysed cell preparations with tubulin antibody before subsequent exposure to the exogenous tubulin resulted in almost complete blockage of microtubule nucleation, especially at kinetochores. Pretreatment of the lysed cell preparations with control antibody or buffer without antibody had no effect on the ability of centrosomes and kinetochores to initiate microtubule assembly. The implications of these results with respect to the molecular composition of centrosomes and kinetochores are discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.