2012 Small World In Motion Competition

Time lapse movie of microtubule asters growing in a thin layer of interphase Xenopus (frog) egg extract

Phuong Anh Nguyen

Harvard Medical School
Department of Systems Biology
Mitchison Lab
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Widefield fluorescence microscopy


This movie shows the growth, interaction, and movement of microtubule asters (in green) in Xenopus (frog) egg cytoplasm, following exit from metaphase (cell division). Asters grown in a thin layer of cytoplasm between two glass coverslips recapitulates the behavior of asters in early dividing live embryos during anaphase/telophase/cytokinesis.  Where asters meet, cytokinesis proteins such as the chromosomal passenger complex (visualized using a fluorescently labeled antibody against a CPC component, shown in red) are recruited. This establishes a boundary between the two asters, and marks the position of the putative cleavage furrow.