Mechanical design principles of a mitotic spindle
Authors: Ward JJ, Roque H, Antony C, Nédélec F
CellNetworks People: Nédélec François
Journal: Elife. 2014 Dec 18;3:e03398. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03398

An organised spindle is crucial to the fidelity of chromosome segregation, but the relationship between spindle structure and function is not well understood in any cell type. The anaphase B spindle in fission yeast has a slender morphology and must elongate against compressive forces. This 'pushing' mode of chromosome transport renders the spindle susceptible to breakage, as observed in cells with a variety of defects. Here we perform electron tomographic analyses of the spindle, which suggest that it organises a limited supply of structural components to increase its compressive strength. Structural integrity is maintained throughout the spindle's fourfold elongation by organising microtubules into a rigid transverse array, preserving correct microtubule number and dynamically rescaling microtubule length.