Expertly Curated Methods for In Vitro Tubulin and Actin Experiments

The study of purified tubulin and actin proteins in minimal reconstituted systems has fueled our understanding of cytoskeletal behavior. From the discovery of microtubule dynamic instability in 19841 to the reconstitution of a complete actin-based motile system in 19992, in vitro biochemical and biophysical experiments remain a cornerstone of cytoskeleton research.

Here, we provide a core set of tubulin and actin protocols that will benefit beginner and seasoned researchers alike. With step-by-step instructions, technical drawings, and literature citations, these protocols are designed to yield reproducible results.

Polymerizing microtubules for the first time?


  1. Mitchison, T. & Kirschner, M. Dynamic instability of microtubule growth. Nature 312, 237–242 (1984)
  2. Loisel, T. P., Boujemaa, R., Pantaloni, D. & Carlier, M.-F. Reconstitution of actin-based motility of Listeria and Shigella using pure proteins. Nature 401, 613–616 (1999)

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