, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 139–146 | Cite as

Chromosomal passengers: Toward an integrated view of mitosis

  • William C. Earnshaw
  • Rebecca L. Bernat
Chromosoma Focus


The immunocytochemical “taxonomy” experiments cited above have identified a class of “chromosomal” antigens whose properties were not predicted by earlier models of mitosis. Our theory describing one possible explanation for the transfer of these antigens from the chromosomes to the spindle midzone at the metaphase: anaphase transition must now be subjected to further experimental tests. The phenotypes of cells microinjected with antibodies to passenger proteins should enable us to identify mitotic processes dependent on these proteins, as in the example of CHO1 antibody blocking mitotic progression (Nislow et al. 1990). In addition, the availability of cDNA clones and high titer antibodies may enable homologues of these components to be identified in organisms in which they can be subjected to genetic analysis.

For the time being, we suggest that current views of the relative roles of chromosomes and cytoskeletal components in mitosis may require revision. Our hypothesis takes the current model for the role of the kinetochores in organizing the bipolar mitotic spindle (Kirschner and Mitchison 1986) a step further. The process of assembling a functional spindle and positioning the cleavage furrow may entail a degree of functional cooperation between chromosomes and cytoskeletal components far beyond that envisioned before now.


Titer Antibody cDNA Clone High Titer Early Model Relative Role 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Earnshaw
    • 1
  • Rebecca L. Bernat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and AnatomyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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