Stimulation of microtubule-based transport by nucleation of microtubules on pigment granules

Irina Semenova, Dipika Gupta, Takeo Usui, Ichiro Hayakawa, Ann Cowan, Vladimir Rodionov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microtubule (MT)-based transport can be regulated through changes in organization of MT transport tracks, but the mechanisms that regulate these changes are poorly understood. In Xenopus melanophores, aggregation of pigment granules in the cell center involves their capture by the tips of MTs growing toward the cell periphery, and granule aggregation signals facilitate capture by increasing the number of growing MT tips. This increase could be explained by stimulation of MT nucleation either on the centrosome or on the aggregate of pigment granules that gradually forms in the cell center. We blocked movement of pigment granules to the cell center and compared the MT-nucleation activity of the centrosome in the same cells in two signaling states. We found that granule aggregation signals did not stimulate MT nucleation on the centrosome but did increase MT nucleation activity of pigment granules. Elevation of MT-nucleation activity correlated with the recruitment to pigment granules of a major component of MT-nucleation templates,?-tubulin, and was suppressed by?-tubulin inhibitors. We conclude that generation of new MT transport tracks by concentration of the leading pigment granules provides a positive feedback loop that enhances delivery of trailing granules to the cell center.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1418-1425
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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