Self-organization of an acentrosomal microtubule network at the basal cortex of polarized epithelial cells

Amy Reilein, Soichiro Yamada, W. James Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Mechanisms underlying the organization of centrosome-derived microtubule arrays are well understood, but less is known about how acentrosomal microtubule networks are formed. The basal cortex of polarized epithelial cells contains a microtubule network of mixed polarity. We examined how this network is organized by imaging microtubule dynamics in acentrosomal basal cytoplasts derived from these cells. We show that the steady-state microtubule network appears to form by a combination of microtubule-microtubule and microtubule-cortex interactions, both of which increase microtubule stability. We used computational modeling to determine whether these microtubule parameters are sufficient to generate a steady-state acentrosomal microtubule network. Microtubules undergoing dynamic instability without any stabilization points continuously remodel their organization without reaching a steady-state network. However, the addition of increased microtubule stabilization at microtubule-microtubule and microtubule-cortex interactions results in the rapid assembly of a steady-state microtubule network in silico that is remarkably similar to networks formed in situ. These results define minimal parameters for the self-organization of an acentrosomal microtubule network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-855
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 5 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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