Micropattern-guided assembly of overlapping pairs of dynamic microtubules


Interactions between antiparallel microtubules are essential for the organization of spindles in dividing cells. The ability to form immobilized antiparallel microtubule pairs in vitro, combined with the ability to image them via TIRF microscopy, permits detailed biochemical characterization of microtubule cross-linking proteins and their effects on microtubule dynamics. Here, we describe methods for chemical micropatterning of microtubule seeds on glass surfaces in configurations that specifically promote the formation of antiparallel microtubule overlaps in vitro. We demonstrate that this assay is especially well suited for reconstitution of minimal midzone overlaps stabilized by the antiparallel microtubule cross-linking protein PRC1 and its binding partners. The micropatterning method is suitable for use with a broad range of proteins, and the assay is generally applicable to any microtubule cross-linking protein.

Journal details

Volume 540
Pages 339-360
Publication date


Type of publication

Crick labs/facilities