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Spoke: a 120-kD protein associated with a novel filamentous structure on or near kinetochore microtubules in the mitotic spindle

The Journal of Cell Biology
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
  • Articles
  • Biology


We have characterized an antiserum that recognizes a single 120-kD protein in CHO cells which is soluble and cytoplasmically localized in interphase, but which is associated with a novel filamentous structure localized on or near kinetochore microtubules in mid-mitosis. These filaments, one per sister chromatid, run from near the mitotic spindle pole to within approximately 0.3 microns of each kinetochore. In metaphase, the staining pattern shows considerable substructure at light microscopy resolution, appearing as bright nodes or striations, often with a kinked or helical appearance. This overall localization pattern is retained throughout anaphase, with the filaments shortening as the chromosomes move toward the mitotic spindle poles. Also in anaphase, a separate ring-like structure lacking a tubulin-staining component appears near the spindle poles. As cells exit mitosis, the amount of this antigen in the cell decreases seven- to tenfold. The unusual staining pattern and the specific localization of this antigen on or near kinetochore microtubules in mid-mitosis indicate that the 120-kD protein defines or is associated with an important and previously unrecognized structural element of the mitotic spindle.

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