Preparation of Dual-Color Polarity-Marked Fluorescent Microtubule Seeds

  • Miho KatsukiEmail author
  • Etsuko Muto
  • Robert A. Cross
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 777)


Assaying microtubule dynamics in vitro requires stabilized nucleation centers, a method to immobilize individual microtubules onto a surface, and a specialized microscope to image the microtubule. Microtubules are polar structures with different dynamic properties at the plus and minus ends. However, the dynamics of the two ends can be modified by the addition of other proteins, such as microtubule plus-end-tracking proteins (+TIPs), so that it becomes impossible to distinguish the microtubule polarity by measuring the differences in the dynamic properties of the ends alone. In this chapter, we describe a method for labeling tubulin protein with N-hydroxysuccinimide ester fluorescent dyes, enabling the formation of dual-color polarity-marked stable microtubule seeds that can be immobilized onto a microscopic cover glass for imaging by fluorescence microscopy. These seeds create functional nucleation centers for the growth of dynamic microtubules.

Key words

N-hydroxysuccinimide ester Succinimidyl ester Tubulin Microtubule In vitro microtubule dynamics assay Polarity-marked microtubules Guanylyl-(alpha, beta)-methylene-diphosphonate 



We thank Dr Douglas Drummond for his comments on the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the Association for International Cancer Research (09-0221), Cancer Research UK (C19638/A6211), and Marie Curie Cancer Care for supporting this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology, Warwick Medical SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.Laboratory for Molecular BiophysicsRIKEN Brain Science InstituteWako CityJapan

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