ID #1306

I have a question about microtubule polymerization and depolymerization. In our notes it says that assembly and disassembly is fastest at the plus end. However, I thought I heard you say in class that the rates are actually the same at both the plus and minus end, it's just that the minus end is normally anchored in so nothing can happen to it. Could you please clearify this for me.

You're right on both counts. The rates would theoretically be equal at both ends, but since the minus end is typically occupied by being anchored into the centrosome, one generally sees assembly and disassembly happening fastest at the plus end. The statement in the notes was describing how it is typically observed in a living cell, not how one would observe an in vitro system.

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