A microtubule-organizing center directing intracellular transport in the early mouse embryo

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Abstract

The centrosome is the primary microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) of most animal cells; however, this organelle is absent during early mammalian development. Therefore, the mechanism by which the mammalian embryo organizes its microtubules (MTs) is unclear. We visualize MT bridges connecting pairs of cells and show that the cytokinetic bridge does not undergo stereotypical abscission after cell division. Instead, it serves as scaffold for the accumulation of the MT minus-end–stabilizing protein CAMSAP3 throughout interphase, thereby transforming this structure into a noncentrosomal MTOC. Transport of the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin to the membrane is coordinated by this MTOC and is required to form the pluripotent inner mass. Our study reveals a noncentrosomal form of MT organization that directs intracellular transport and is essential for mammalian development.

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