Microtubules (MTs) are central to the organisation of the eukaryotic intracellular space and are involved in the control of cell morphology. For these purposes, MT polymerisation dynamics are tightly regulated. Using automated image analysis software, we investigate the spatial dependence of MT dynamics in interphase fission yeast cells with unprecedented statistical accuracy. We find that MT catastrophe frequencies (switches from polymerisation to depolymerisation) strongly depend on intracellular position. We provide evidence that compressive forces generated by MTs growing against the cell pole locally reduce MT growth velocities and enhance catastrophe frequencies. Furthermore, we find evidence for an MT length-dependent increase in the catastrophe frequency that is mediated by kinesin-8 proteins (Klp5/6). Given the intrinsic susceptibility of MT dynamics to compressive forces and the widespread importance of kinesin-8 proteins, we propose that similar spatial regulation ofMTdynamics plays a role in other cell types as well. In addition, our systematic and quantitative data should provide valuable input for (mathematical) models of MT organisation in living cells.
inclusive supporting materials

Mol. Syst. Biol.

Tischer, C., Brunner, D., & Dogterom, M. (2009). Force- and kinesin-8-dependent effects in the spatial regulation of fission yeast microtubule dynamics. Mol. Syst. Biol., 5(Article number: 250), 1–10. doi:10.1038/msb.2009.5