Microtubule assembly dynamics: new insights at the nanoscale

Melissa K. Gardner, Alan J. Hunt, Holly V. Goodson, David J. Odde

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Although the dynamic self-assembly behavior of microtubule ends has been well characterized at the spatial resolution of light microscopy (∼200 nm), the single-molecule events that lead to these dynamics are less clear. Recently, a number of in vitro studies used novel approaches combining laser tweezers, microfabricated chambers, and high-resolution tracking of microtubule-bound beads to characterize mechanochemical aspects of MT dynamics at nanometer scale resolution. In addition, computational modeling is providing a framework for integrating these experimental results into physically plausible models of molecular scale microtubule dynamics. These nanoscale studies are providing new fundamental insights about microtubule assembly, and will be important for advancing our understanding of how microtubule dynamic instability is regulated in vivo via microtubule-associated proteins, therapeutic agents, and mechanical forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MKG is supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) NRSA Pre-doctoral Fellowship EB005568. HVG is supported by NIH grant GM065420, AJH is supported by NIH grant GM076177 and National Science Foundation (NSF) grant MCB-0334835, and DJO is supported by NIH grant GM071522 and NSF grant MCB-0615568.


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