April 21, 2011

I just couldn’t help myself…today’s image is taken from the same paper as Monday’s image. Such stunning high magnification images of microtubules are a testament to the amazing technology available to biologists and the talented microscopists taking the images.

As mentioned on Monday, a recent paper found that different levels of a specific tubulin isotype can affect microtubule behavior. Mammalian cells with increased levels of this isotype, called β5-tubulin, had many fragmented microtubules. After finding this, Bhattacharya and colleagues tested possible explanations for these fragments and found that in cells with increased β5-tubulin, microtubules frequently detached from centrosomes, which are microtubule organizing centers. As seen in the time-lapse series of images above, microtubules do detach from centrosomes (asterisk) in normal cells (arrows mark the minus ends of detached microtubules). However, the frequency of microtubule detachment increased more than ten-fold in cells with high β5-tubulin levels (bottom series of images).

ResearchBlogging.orgBhattacharya, R., Yang, H., & Cabral, F. (2011). Class V -tubulin alters dynamic instability and stimulates microtubule detachment from centrosomes Molecular Biology of the Cell, 22 (7), 1025-1034 DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E10-10-0822

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