Light-Patterned Microtubule Asters, Nuclear Actin, And EB3-Islands
Controlling Organization And Forces In Active Matter Through Optically Defined Boundaries
Ross et al. | Nature Cytoskeletal networks are dynamic, reconfigurable systems exquisitely tuned by the cell to perform a variety of functions. Reconstituting the diverse organization patterns of actin and microtubule networks in vitro has been a long-standing research objective, both to gain insights into the self-organization of cytoskeletal systems as well as to engineer active-matter devices. Here, the Thomson lab uses light-dimerizable kinesin motors to reversibly bundle microtubules with high spatiotemporal control. The authors manipulate light patterns to form, move, and merge microtubule asters at will. This dynamic remodeling of microtubule structures generates fluid flow reminiscent of cytoplasmic streaming, which the authors further control in a final demonstration imparting a rotating light pattern to create an “active stir bar.”
Find us in the methods section!
Significance – The ability to form light-defined compartments of active biomolecules offers a path toward engineering programmable soft matter materials inspired by nature.
MTrack: Automated Detection, Tracking, and Analysis of Dynamic Microtubules
Researchers develop a plug-in for the open-source platform Fiji that automatically identifies and tracks dynamic microtubules with sub-pixel resolution.
Kapoor et al. | Scientific Reports
Find us in the methods section!
Reviews and Perspectives
• Estrem and Moore on astral microtubules and DNA repair
• Nickaeen et al. on actin driven endocytosis in yeast
• Wang and O’Shaughnessy on tension in the cytokinetic ring
• Kondo and Kimura on cytokinesis with tripolar spindles
Journal Club Picks
- The biased inheritance of selfish centromeres depends on microtubule destabilizing factors.
Akera, Trimm, and Lampson | Lampson Lab | Cell
- Stationary EB3-islands at microtubule ends are not likely explained by nucleotide state.
Mustyatsa et al. | Vorobjev Lab | Molecular Biology of the Cell
- Central-spindle microtubules move at the same speed as segregating chromosomes.
Yu et al. | Müller-Reichert and Needleman Labs | Molecular Biology of the Cell
- Malaria-inducing Plasmodium sporozoites need at least 10 microtubules to be infectious.
Spreng et al. | Frischknecht Lab | EMBO Journal
- Microtubules rupture their own organizing centers as a function of the cell cycle.
Magescas, Zonka, and Feldman | Feldman Lab | eLife
- Cortical actin redistributes forces evenly when cells are stretched.
Kumar et al. | Schwartz Lab | Journal of Cell Biology
- Microtubule and actin crosstalk transmits forces across cells during tissue morphogenesis.
Ko, Tserunyan, and Martin | Martin Lab | Journal of Cell Biology
- Targeting nonmuscle myosin II in glioblastoma impairs tumor invasion.
Picariello et al. | Rosenfeld Lab | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Treadmilling F-actin bundles drive the spatial exploration of microvilli on cell surfaces.
Meenderink et al. | Tyska Lab | Developmental Cell
- Acto-myosin contraction clusters chromosomes during nuclear envelope breakdown.
Booth et al. | Tanaka Lab | eLife
Our opinions are our own and do not represent the views or endorsement of the authors cited.