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Journal of Cell Biology
A live-cell marker to visualize the dynamics of stable microtubules throughout the cell cycle
Klara I. Jansen, Malina K. Iwanski, Mithila Burute, Lukas C. Kapitein
The microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton underlies processes such as intracellular transport and cell division. Immunolabeling for posttranslational modifications of tubulin has revealed the presence of different MT subsets, which are believed to differ in stability and function. Whereas dynamic MTs can readily be studied using live-cell plus-end markers, the dynamics of stable MTs have remained obscure due to a lack of tools to directly visualize these MTs in living cells. Here, we present StableMARK (Stable Microtubule-Associated Rigor-Kinesin), a live-cell marker to visualize stable MTs with high spatiotemporal resolution. We demonstrate that a rigor mutant of Kinesin-1 selectively binds to stable MTs without affecting MT organization and organelle transport. These MTs are long-lived, undergo continuous remodeling, and often do not depolymerize upon laser-based severing. Using this marker, we could visualize the spatiotemporal regulation of MT stability before, during, and after cell division. Thus, this live-cell marker enables the exploration of different MT subsets and how they contribute to cellular organization and transport.