Microtubules cut loose at the cell cortex

David J. Sharp, Brian O'Rourke, Dong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of the microtubule cytoskeleton to rapidly and locally reorganize itself in response to intraand extracellular signals is essential to its wide range of functions. A site of tightly regulated microtubule dynamics-and the major interface between the microtubule cytoskeleton and the extracellular environment-is the cell cortex, where the selective stabilization and destabilization of microtubule plus-ends is required for normal cell division, morphogenesis and migration. In a recent study, we found that the cortex of Drosophila S2 and D17 cells is coated with the microtubule severing enzyme and plus-end depolymerase, Kat-60, which actively suppresses microtubule growth and stability along the cell edge. We have proposed that cortical Kat-60 functions by uncapping plus-ends, thereby activating another microtubule depolymerase, KLP10A, preloaded onto the end. The localized destruction of microtubule plusends at a specific cortical could feed into larger regulatory pathways, such as those in control of the actin cytoskeleton, to influence cell polarization and motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-15
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Cell cortex
  • EB1
  • KLP10A
  • Katanin
  • Microtubule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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