The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In Pictures

  • Mitotic spindle, made of hundreds of thin polymer strands

The Miotic Spindle: A Cellular Machine

Reminiscent of a wrapped piece of candy tied at each end, this image shows the mitotic spindle, a tiny cellular machine made of hundreds of very thin polymers each ~ 1/1000 the diameter of a strand of hair. The spindle appears suspended in the center of the cell, the edges of which are filled with a cloud of filaments (blue). The mitotic spindle forms each time a cell divides into two. The spindle polymers attach to the duplicated chromosomes and help move them into the two daughter cells. In a typical adult human, there are at least 10^6 divisions each minute. Learn more.

Photo credit: Wadsworth Research Group, courtesy of Visual Image Library