The cytoskeletal system of eukaryotic and prokaryotic
cells is composed of three types of structures, microtubules, intermediate
filaments, and actin.
Microtubules have a variety of functions in the cell including:
scaffolding to give cell shape, they serve as roadways for intracellular
transport of mitochondria and other vesicles, and are the core components
of mitotic spindles, centrosomes, basal bodies, and cilia and flagella.
Microtubules dynamics drive cellular processes such as chromosome
segregation and cell division
Microtubules polymerize from tubulin dimers (alpha and beta subunits)
and in nature are often 13 protofilaments. They are about 25 nanometers
wide and shaped like a hollow tube.
In an effort to elucidate the structure and describe the function
and the interaction of molecular motors and microtubules, our laboratory
examines these molecules using cryo electron micorscopy and three
dimensional image reconstruction.