August 9, 2010

Microtubules are an important component of the cell’s cytoskeleton, and function in many roles including mitosis, cytokinesis, migration, and membrane trafficking. They are very dynamic structures, and the list of proteins that are associated with them is long. One such protein is called CLIP-170, which is found on the tips of microtubules as they grow and serves to regulate each microtubule’s dynamics and interaction with other structures in the cell. A recent paper has shown that the association of CLIP-170 to microtubule tips is altered after mutating certain regions of CLIP-170, which in turn alters the protein’s conformation, or three-dimensional shape. Image above shows mammalian cells with normal and mutated CLIP-170 on growing microtubules (whole cells are top, magnified views of single microtubule tips are bottom). The two mutated proteins have greater (middle) or decreased (right) association with microtubules compared to normal CLIP-170 (left).

Reference: Ho-Sup Lee, Yulia A. Komarova, Elena S. Nadezhdina, Rana Anjum, John G. Peloquin, Joseph M. Schober, Oana Danciu, Jeffrey van Haren, Niels Galjart, Steven P. Gygi, Anna Akhmanova, and Gary G. Borisy. Authors’ Molecular Biology of the Cell paper can be found here.

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