Microtubule end tethering of a processive kinesin-8 motor Kif18b is required for spindle positioning

Toni McHugh, Agata A Gluszek, Julie P I Welburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mitotic spindle positioning specifies the plane of cell division during anaphase. Spindle orientation and positioning are therefore critical to ensure symmetric division in mitosis and asymmetric division during development. The control of astral microtubule length plays an essential role in positioning the spindle. In this study, using gene knockout, we show that the kinesin-8 Kif18b controls microtubule length to center the mitotic spindle at metaphase. Using in vitro reconstitution, we reveal that Kif18b is a highly processive plus end-directed motor that uses a C-terminal nonmotor microtubule-binding region to accumulate at growing microtubule plus ends. This region is regulated by phosphorylation to spatially control Kif18b accumulation at plus ends and is essential for Kif18b-dependent spindle positioning and regulation of microtubule length. Finally, we demonstrate that Kif18b shortens microtubules by increasing the catastrophe rate of dynamic microtubules. Overall, our work reveals that Kif18b uses its motile properties to reach microtubule ends, where it regulates astral microtubule length to ensure spindle centering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2403-2416
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number7
Early online date16 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2018


  • cell cycle and division
  • biochemistry


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