Measuring kinetochore-microtubule interaction in vitro.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Methods in enzymology, Volume 540, p.321-37 (2014)


2014, April 2014, Basic Sciences Division


Many proteins and protein complexes perform sophisticated, regulated functions in vivo. Many of these functions can be recapitulated using in vitro reconstitution, which serves as a means to establish unambiguous cause-effect relationships, for example, between a protein and its phosphorylating kinase. Here, we describe a protocol to purify kinetochores, the protein complexes that attach chromosomes to microtubules during mitosis, and quantitatively assay their microtubule-binding characteristics. Our assays, based on DIC imaging and laser trapping microscopy, are used to measure the attachment of microtubules to kinetochores and the load-bearing capabilities of those attachments. These assays provide a platform for studying kinase disruption of kinetochore-microtubule attachments, which is believed to be critical for correcting erroneous kinetochore-spindle attachments and thereby avoiding chromosome missegregation. The principles of our approach should be extensible to studies of a wide range of force-bearing interactions in biology.