Control of mitotic spindle length

Gohta Goshima, Jonathan M. Scholey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


The mitotic spindle accurately segregates genetic instructions by moving chromosomes to spindle poles (anaphase A) and separating the poles (anaphase B) so that, in general, the chromosomes and poles are positioned near the centers of the nascent daughter cell products of each cell division. Because the size of different types of dividing cells, and thus the spacing of their daughter cell centers, can vary significantly, the length of the metaphase or postanaphase B spindle often scales with cell size. However, significant exceptions to this scaling rule occur, revealing the existence of cell size-independent, spindle-associated mechanisms of spindle length control. The control of spindle length reflects the action of mitotic force-generating mechanisms, and its study may illuminate general principles by which cells regulate the size of internal structures. Here we review molecules and mechanisms that control spindle length, how these mechanisms are deployed in different systems, and some quantitative models that describe the control of spindle length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-57
Number of pages37
JournalAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Nov 10 2010


  • microtubules
  • mitosis
  • mitotic motors
  • subcellular length control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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