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Active forces shape the metaphase spindle through a mechanical

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Oriola,  David
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Jülicher,  Frank
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Brugués,  Jan
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Oriola, D., Jülicher, F., & Brugués, J. (2020). Active forces shape the metaphase spindle through a mechanical. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(28), 16154-16159. doi:10.1073/pnas.2002446117.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-71E3-9
Abstract
The metaphase spindle is a dynamic structure orchestrating chro-mosome segregation during cell division. Recently, soft matter approaches have shown that the spindle behaves as an active liq-uid crystal. Still, it remains unclear how active force generation contributes to its characteristic spindle-like shape. Here we com-bine theory and experiments to show that molecular motor-driven forces shape the structure through a barreling-type instability. We test our physical model by titrating dynein activity in Xenopus egg extract spindles and quantifying the shape and microtubule ori-entation. We conclude that spindles are shaped by the interplay between surface tension, nematic elasticity, and motor-driven active forces. Our study reveals how motor proteins can mold liquid crystalline droplets and has implications for the design of active soft materials.