McIntosh, J. Richard Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Laboratory for High-Voltage Electron Microscopy, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
- Morphology and organization
- Structural regulation
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An organelle located in the cytoplasm of all animal cells and many plants, fungi, and protozoa, that controls the polymerization, position, and polar orientation of many of the cell's microtubules throughout the cell cycle. There is usually one centrosome per cell, located near the cell's center; it doubles during interphase, so there are two when the cell divides. At the onset of mitosis, each centrosome increases the number of microtubules it initiates. These mitotic microtubules are more labile and generally shorter than their interphase counterparts, and as they rapidly grow and shrink they probe the space around the centrosome that initiated them. When the nuclear envelope disperses, the microtubules extend from the centrosome into the former nucleoplasm where the chromosomes have already condensed. Some of these microtubules attach to the chromosomes, while others interact with microtubules produced by the sister centrosome, forming a mitotic spindle that organizes and segregates the chromosomes. During anaphase, sister centrosomes are forced apart as the spindle elongates, allowing each daughter cell to receive one centrosome to organize its microtubules in the next cell generation. See also: Cell cycle; Cell motility
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