Microtubule Architecture Specified by a β-Tubulin Isoform

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Science  03 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5296, pp. 70-73
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5296.70

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In Drosophila melanogaster, a testis-specific β-tubulin (β2) is required for spermatogenesis. A sequence motif was identified in carboxyl termini of axonemal β-tubulins in diverse taxa. As a test of whether orthologous β-tubulins from different species are functionally equivalent, the moth Heliothis virescens β2 homolog was expressed in Drosophila testes. When coexpressed with β2, the moth isoform imposed the 16-protofilament structure characteristic of that found in the moth on the corresponding subset of Drosophila microtubules, which normally contain only 13-protofilament microtubules. Thus, the architecture of the microtubule cytoskeleton can be directed by a component β-tubulin.

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