Among the three major filamentous components of the cytoskeleton, microtubules have so far received the most attention, primarily for the following reasons: they were the first cytoskeletal component to be described as ubiquitous in eukaryotic cells; they form extremely complex and esthetically pleasing patterns in microtubular organelles; and they are involved in the construction of the mitotic spindle, a cell organelle that has fascinated generations of cell biologists. The history of research on microtubules is marked by discontinuous jumps where periods of rapid progress—initiated, in most cases, by the advent of new techniques— alternate with peroids of relatively slow progress. Although the exponential (or shall we say explosive?) phase of microtubule research began with the introduction of glutaraldehyde as a fixative for electron microscopy (Sabatini et al. 1963), microtubule-containing structures or organelles had been described decades earlier. Similarly, the onset of what were to become the fields of microtubule physiology and biochemistry can be traced to the pharmacological experiments of Pernice (1889).
KeywordsBasal Body Microtubule Assembly High Molecular Weight Protein Tubulin Dimer Beta Tubulin
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