The mechanical basis of mitosis has only been understood in fragments so far
The expansion of compressed, weakly bound proteins (green) leads to a force that causes the directional movement of two overlapping microtubules against one another. The upper part of the figure shows a schematic diagram of the movement of two overlapping microtubules (red and orange) in combination with typical fluorescence microscopy images. The lower part of the figure shows a gas spring, the macroscopic counterpart of the biomolecular system, where gas is compressed by the impact of an external force and expands again later as soon as the external force is reduced.
Credit: Dr. Stefan Diez
Original publication: Zdenek Lansky, Marcus Braun, Annemarie Lüdecke, Michael Schlierf, Pieter Rein ten Wolde, Marcel E Janson, Stefan Diez, Diffusible Crosslinkers Generate Directed Forces in Microtubule Networks, DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2015.01.051