Soluble tubulin is significantly enriched at mitotic centrosomes

Johannes Baumgart, Marcel Kirchner, Stefanie Redemann, Alec Bond, Jeffrey Woodruff, Jean Marc Verbavatz, Frank Jülicher, Thomas Müller-Reichert, Anthony A. Hyman, Jan Brugués

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


During mitosis, the centrosome expands its capacity to nucleate microtubules. Understanding the mechanisms of centrosomal microtubule nucleation is, however, constrained by a lack of knowledge of the amount of soluble and polymeric tubulin at mitotic centrosomes. Here we combined light microscopy and serial-section electron tomography to measure the amount of dimeric and polymeric tubulin at mitotic centrosomes in early C. elegans embryos. We show that a C. elegans one-cell stage centrosome at metaphase contains >10,000 microtubules with a total polymer concentration of 230 µM. Centrosomes concentrate soluble α/β tubulin by about 10-fold over the cytoplasm, reaching peak values of 470 µM, giving a combined total monomer and polymer tubulin concentration at centrosomes of up to 660 µM. These findings support in vitro data suggesting that microtubule nucleation in C. elegans centrosomes is driven in part by concentrating soluble tubulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3977-3985
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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