Three-dimensional tracking of plus-tips by lattice light-sheet microscopy permits the quantification of microtubule growth trajectories within the mitotic apparatus
Mitotic apparatus, which comprises hundreds of microtubules, plays an essential role in cell division, ensuring the correct segregation of chromosomes into each daughter cell. To gain insight into its regulatory mechanisms, it is essential to detect and analyze the behavior of individual microtubule filaments. However, the discrimination of discrete microtubule filaments within the mitotic apparatus is beyond the capabilities of conventional light microscopic technologies. Recently, we detected three-dimensional (3-D) microtubule growth dynamics within the cellular cytoplasmic space using lattice light-sheet microscopy in conjunction with microtubule growth marker protein end-binding 1, a microtubule plus-end-tracking protein, which was fused to green fluorescent protein (EB1-GFP). This technique enables high-resolution 3-D imaging at subsecond intervals. We adapted mathematical computing and geometric representation techniques to analyze spatial variations in microtubule growth dynamics within the mitotic spindle apparatus. Our analytical approach enabled the different dynamic properties of individual microtubules to be determined, including the direction and speed of their growth, and their growth duration within a 3-D spatial map. Our analysis framework provides an important step toward a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms driving cellular machinery at the whole-cell level.