• microtubule;
  • micro-patterning;
  • MAP;
  • Ase1;
  • Klp2


The spatial organization of the microtubule (MT) network directs cell polarity and mitosis. It is finely regulated by hundreds of different types of microtubule-associated proteins and molecular motors whose specific functions are difficult to investigate directly in cells. Here, we have investigated their functions using geometrically controlled MT networks in vitro in cell-free assay. This was achieved by developing a new method to spatially define MT nucleation using MT microseeds adsorbed on a micropatterned glass substrate. This method could be used to control MT growth and the induction of complex MT networks. We selected the interaction of two radial arrays of dynamic and polarized MTs to analyze the formation of the central antiparallel MT bundle. We investigated the effects of the MT cross-linker anaphase spindle elongation 1 (Ase1) and the kinesin motor Klp2, which are known to regulate MT organization in the spindle midzone. We thus identified the respective roles of each protein and revealed their synergy on the establishment of stable antiparallel MT bundles by quantifying MT interactions over hundreds of comparable MT networks. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc