Spindle microtubules capture and segregate chromosomes and, therefore, their assembly is an essential event in mitosis. To carry out their mission, many key players for microtubule formation need to be strictly orchestrated. Particularly, proteins that assemble the spindle need to be translocated at appropriate sites during mitosis. A small GTPase (hydrolase enzyme of guanosine triphosphate), Ran, controls this translocation. Ran plays many roles in many cellular events: nucleocytoplasmic shuttling through the nuclear envelope, assembly of the mitotic spindle, and reorganization of the nuclear envelope at the mitotic exit. Although these events are seemingly distinct, recent studies demonstrate that the mechanisms underlying these phenomena are substantially the same as explained by molecular interplay of the master regulator Ran, the transport factor importin, and its cargo proteins. Our review focuses on how the transport machinery regulates mitotic progression of cells. We summarize translocation mechanisms governed by Ran and its regulatory proteins, and particularly focus on Ran-GTP targets in fission yeast that promote spindle formation. We also discuss the coordination of the spatial and temporal regulation of proteins from the viewpoint of transport machinery. We propose that the transport machinery is an essential key that couples the spatial and temporal events in cells.
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