Microtubule-severing enzymes

Antonina Roll-Mecak, Francis J. McNally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


In 1993, an enzyme with an ATP-dependent microtubule-severing activity was purified from sea urchin eggs and named katanin, after the Japanese word for sword. Now we know that katanin, spastin, and fidgetin form a family of closely related microtubule-severing enzymes that is widely distributed in eukaryotes ranging from Tetrahymena and Chlamydomonas to humans. Here we review the diverse in vivo functions of these proteins and the recent significant advances in deciphering the biophysical mechanism of microtubule severing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-103
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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