November 8, 2010

I love microtubules, and I have friends that love actin. To keep the debate over coolest cytoskeletal element civil, I’m the diplomat that loves proteins that interact with both microtubules and actin.

During neuron development, one of the many protrusions coming from the cell body undergoes rapid growth to eventually become the axon, and the regulation of this process is complicated. The microtubule-associated protein MAP1B was previously known to play a role in axonal development, but a recent paper teases apart how MAP1B functions. The authors found that MAP1B regulates the cross-talk between the microtubule and actin cytoskeletons during axon growth. Images show wild type (left) and MAP1B-deficient (right) neurons: the wild-type neuron has only one long axon originating from the cell body, while the MAP1B-deficient neuron does not.

Reference: Carolina Montenegro-Venegas, Elena Tortosa, Silvana Rosso, Diego Peretti, Flavia Bollati, Mariano Bisbal, Ignacio Jausoro, Jesus Avila, Alfredo Cáceres, and Christian Gonzalez-Billault. Authors’ Molecular Biology of the Cell paper can be found here.

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