Probing the mechanical architecture of the vertebrate meiotic spindle

Takeshi Itabashi, Jun Takagi, Yuta Shimamoto, Hiroaki Onoe, Kenta Kuwana, Isao Shimoyama, Jedidiah Gaetz, Tarun M. Kapoor, Shin'ichi Ishiwata

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    Abstract

    Accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis depends on the assembly of a microtubule-based spindle of proper shape and size. Current models for spindle-size control focus on reaction diffusion-based chemical regulation and balance in activities of motor proteins. Although several molecular perturbations have been used to test these models, controlled mechanical perturbations have not been possible. Here we report a piezoresistive dual cantilever-based system to test models for spindle-size control and examine the mechanical features, such as deformability and stiffness, of the vertebrate meiotic spindle. We found that meiotic spindles prepared in Xenopus laevis egg extracts were viscoelastic and recovered their original shape in response to small compression. Larger compression resulted in plastic deformation, but the spindle adapted to this change, establishing a stable mechanical architecture at different sizes. The technique we describe here may also be useful for examining the micromechanics of other cellular organelles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-172
    Number of pages6
    JournalNature Methods
    Volume6
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biotechnology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Biochemistry
    • Cell Biology

    Cite this

    Itabashi, T., Takagi, J., Shimamoto, Y., Onoe, H., Kuwana, K., Shimoyama, I., Gaetz, J., Kapoor, T. M., & Ishiwata, S. (2009). Probing the mechanical architecture of the vertebrate meiotic spindle. Nature Methods, 6(2), 167-172. https://doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.1297