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Microtubule bundle formation during prometaphase: A theoretical approach.

Dr. Subhadip Ghosh, University of Zagreb, Croatia

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Assembly of mitotic spindle during cell division is of paramount importance as it segregates the chromosomes into the daughter cells. During prometaphase, microtubules and associated cross linkers dynamically self organize and consequently appear to form stable bundles prior to metaphase. Experimental study of the cross-section at the mid zone of vertically oriented spindles show that a homogeneous mist like distribution of cross-linking proteins form droplet like structures as time progresses in prometaphase and the cross linkers are co-localized with microtubules. In our theoretical work we develop a mean field theory in which we describe microtubules and cross linkers by density fields. To describe interactions in the system, we incorporate an attraction between microtubules mediated by cross linkers, repulsion between individual microtubules and entropic interaction among cross linkers in the Landau-Ginzberg free energy. We find that our theory, in the linear regime, shows a possibility of a transition from homogeneous density state to a state with multiple clusters of microtubules and cross linking proteins. Solving dynamical equations numerically we also predict the time required to form clusters of various sizes.

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