The assembly and disassembly of microtubules can generate pushing and pulling forces that, together with motor proteins, contribute to the correct positioning of chromosomes, mitotic spindles and nuclei in cells. In vitro experiments combined with modeling have shed light on the intrinsic capability of dynamic microtubules to generate force, and various observations of positioning processes in cells and model systems have shown how pushing and pulling forces are used in different situations. A sophisticated set of microtubule-end-binding proteins is responsible for steering dynamic microtubules toward their cellular target and regulating the pushing and/or pulling forces that are generated once contact is established.

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Journal Curr. Opin. Cell Biol.
Dogterom, M, Kerssemakers, J.W.J, Romet-Lemonne, G, & Janson, M.E. (2005). Force generation by dynamic microtubules. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol., 17, 67–74. doi:10.1016/