The microtubule-destabilizing kinesin XKCM1 regulates microtubule dynamic instability in cells

Susan L. Kline-Smith, Claire E. Walczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The dynamic activities of cellular microtubules (MTs) are tightly regulated by a balance between MT-stabilizing and -destabilizing proteins. Studies in Xenopus egg extracts have shown that the major MT destabilizer during interphase and mitosis is the kinesin-related protein XKCM1, which depolymerizes MT ends in an ATP-dependent manner. Herein, we examine the effects of both overexpression and inhibition of XKCM1 on the regulation of MT dynamics in vertebrate somatic cells. We found that XKCM1 is a MT-destabilizing enzyme in PtK2 cells and that XKCM1 modulates cellular MT dynamics. Our results indicate that perturbation of XKCM1 levels alters the catastrophe frequency and the rescue frequency of cellular MTs. In addition, we found that overexpression of XKCM1 or inhibition of KCM1 during mitosis leads to the formation of aberrant spindles and a mitotic delay. The predominant spindle defects from excess XKCM1 included monoastral and monopolar spindles, as well as small prometaphase-like spindles with improper chromosomal attachments. Inhibition of KCM1 during mitosis led to prometaphase spindles with excessively long MTs and spindles with partially separated poles and a radial MT array. These results show that KCM1 plays a critical role in regulating both interphase and mitotic MT dynamics in mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2718-2731
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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