Potent microtubule depolymerizing activity of a mitotic Kif18b-MCAK-EB network

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The precise regulation of microtubule length during mitosis is essential to assemble and position the mitotic spindle and segregate chromosomes. The kinesin-13 Kif2C or MCAK acts as a potent microtubule depolymerase that diffuses short distances on microtubules, whereas the kinesin-8 Kif18b is a processive motor with weak depolymerase activity. However, the individual activities of these factors cannot explain the dramatic increase in microtubule dynamics in mitosis. Using in vitro reconstitution and single-molecule imaging, we demonstrate that Kif18b, MCAK and the plus-end tracking protein EB3 (also known as MAPRE3) act in an integrated manner to potently promote microtubule depolymerization at very low concentrations. We find that Kif18b can transport EB3 and MCAK and promotes their accumulation to microtubule plus ends through multivalent weak interactions. Together, our work defines the mechanistic basis for a cooperative Kif18b-MCAK-EB network at microtubule plus ends, that acts to efficiently shorten and regulate microtubules in mitosis, essential for correct chromosome segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number jcs260144
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022


  • depolymerization
  • kinesin
  • microtubule
  • mitosis
  • regulation


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