Summary Ran is a small GTP binding protein that was originally identified as a regulator of nucleocytoplasmic transport  and subsequently found to be important for spindle formation [2-5]. In mitosis, a gradient of Ran-GTP emanates from chromatin and diminishes toward spindle poles . Ran-GTP promotes spindle self-organization through the release of importin-bound spindle assembly factors (SAFs), which stimulate microtubule (MT) nucleation and organization and regulate MT dynamics [7-9]. Although many SAFs are non-motile MT-associated proteins, such as NuMA, TPX2, and HURP [7, 10-12], Ran also controls motor proteins, including Kid and HSET/XCTK2 [13, 14]. The Kinesin-14 XCKT2 is important for spindle assembly and pole organization [15-20], and Ran-GTP is proposed to promote XCKT2 MT crosslinking activity by releasing importin α/β from a bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) located in the tail domain . Here, we show that the Ran-GTP gradient spatially regulates XCTK2 within the spindle. A flattened Ran-GTP gradient blocked the ability of excess XCTK2 to stimulate bipolar spindle assembly and resulted in XCTK2-mediated bundling of free MTs. These effects required the XCTK2 tail, which promoted the motility of XCTK2 within the spindle independent of the Ran-GTP gradient. In addition, the turnover kinetics of XCTK2 were spatially controlled: they were faster near the poles relative to the chromatin, but not with a mutant XCTK2 that cannot bind to importin α/β. Our results support a model in which the Ran-GTP gradient spatially coordinates motor localization with motility to ensure efficient spindle formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)