Control of microtubule organization and dynamics: two ends in the limelight

Akhmanova A, Steinmetz MO. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Dec;16(12):711-26. doi: 10.1038/nrm4084. Review

Microtubules have fundamental roles in many essential biological processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. They assemble and disassemble from their two ends, denoted the plus end and the minus end. Significant advances have been made in our understanding of microtubule plus-end-tracking proteins (+TIPs) such as end-binding protein 1 (EB1), XMAP215, selected kinesins and dynein. By contrast, information on microtubule minus-end-targeting proteins (-TIPs), such as the calmodulin-regulated spectrin-associated proteins (CAMSAPs) and Patronin, has only recently started to emerge. Here, we review our current knowledge of factors, including microtubule-targeting agents, that associate with microtubule ends to control the dynamics and function of microtubules during the cell cycle and development.

Two ends

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