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ISRN Molecular Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 596289, 14 pages
Review Article

Models, Regulations, and Functions of Microtubule Severing by Katanin

Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, Mohanpur, Nadia 741252, India

Received 1 August 2012; Accepted 20 August 2012

Academic Editors: H. Hashimoto, A. J. Molenaar, and A. Montecucco

Copyright © 2012 Debasish Kumar Ghosh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Regulation of microtubule dynamics depends on stochastic balance between polymerization and severing process which lead to differential spatiotemporal abundance and distribution of microtubules during cell development, differentiation, and morphogenesis. Microtubule severing by a conserved AAA family protein Katanin has emerged as an important microtubule architecture modulating process in cellular functions like division, migration, shaping and so on. Regulated by several factors, Katanin manifests connective crosstalks in network motifs in regulation of anisotropic severing pattern of microtubule protofilaments in cell type and stage dependent way. Mechanisms of structural disintegration of microtubules by Katanin involve heterogeneous mechanochemical processes and sensitivity of microtubules to Katanin plays significant roles in mitosis/meiosis, neurogenesis, cilia/flagella formation, cell wall development and so on. Deregulated and uncoordinated expression of Katanin has been shown to have implications in pathophysiological conditions. In this paper, we highlight mechanistic models and regulations of microtubule severing by Katanin in context of structure and various functions of Katanin in different organisms.