During mitosis, microtubules (MTs), aided by motors and associated proteins, assemble into a mitotic spindle. Recent evidence supports the notion that a membranous spindle matrix aids spindle formation; however, the mechanisms by which the matrix may contribute to spindle assembly are unknown. To search for a mechanism by which the presence of a mitotic membrane might help spindle morphology, we built a computational model that explores the interactions between these components. We show that an elastic membrane around the mitotic apparatus helps to focus MT minus ends and provides a resistive force that acts antagonistically to plus-end-directed MT motors such as Eg5.
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