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Actin moves chromosomes

Surprise findings from starfish oocytes address key questions about cell division

Marta Paterlini(martapaterlini@mac.com)

An actin network can move chromosomes during cell division, scientists report in this week's Nature. Their surprise findings are the first indication that the protein filaments play a role in chromosome movement, introducing a novel mechanism that seems necessary for delivering distal chromosomes to within the capture distance of centrosomal microtubules.

"The mechanism described [by the group] is so unexpected and beautiful. I never saw even a hint of something like that," said Alex Mogilner, from University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research. He told The Scientist that the results address central questions in cell division—how the mitotic spindle is assembled from microtubules and other proteins, and how astral microtubules connect to chromosomes. "This has great importance for the field," Mogilner said.

Jan Ellenberg and colleagues at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg followed meiosis in starfish (Asterina miniata) oocytes, and...

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