ID #2286

I don't understand the differences between in vivo and in vitro conditions in terms of polymerization and depolymerization. So is it a fact that both conditions favor polymerization on the plus end and depolymerization at the minus end? And there's something about one being faster than the other? Could someone lay out the differences please? Thanks.

In vivo, meaning in a living cell, both polymerization and depolymerization are favored at the plus end, because the minus end is occupied by being anchored into the centrosome. 

In vitro, where we have no centrosomes and both ends are freely available and subject to polymerization and depolymerization, polymerization is favored at the plus end and depolymerization is favored at the minus end. In other words, when both ends are free, they behave a lot like an actin filament. 

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