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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tubulin anchoring to glycolipid-enriched, detergent-resistant domains of the neuronal plasma membrane.

After incubation of intact living cultured rat cerebellar granule cells at 37 degrees C with a new GM1 ganglioside analog, carrying a diazirine group and labeled with (125)I in the ceramide moiety, followed by photoactivation, a relatively small number of radiolabeled proteins were detected in a membrane-enriched fraction. A protein of about 55 kDa with a pI of about 5 carried a large portion of the radioactivity even if incubation and cross-linking were performed at 4 degrees C and in the presence of inhibitors of endocytosis, suggesting that it is cross-linked at the plasma membrane. Immunoprecipitation and Western blotting experiments showed the positivity of this protein for tubulin. Trypsin treatment of intact cells ruled out the involvement of a plasma membrane surface tubulin. Release of radioactivity from cross-linked tubulin after KOH treatment (but not hydroxylamine treatment) suggested that the photoactivated ganglioside reacts with an ester-linked fatty acid anchor of tubulin. Low buoyancy, detergent-resistant membrane fractions, isolated from cells after incubation with the GM1 analogue and photoactivation, proved their enrichment in endogenous and radioactive GM1 ganglioside, sphingomyelin, cholesterol, signal transduction proteins, and tubulin. It is noteworthy that radioactive tubulin was also detected in this fraction, indicating the presence of tubulin molecules carrying a fatty acid anchor in detergent-resistant, ganglioside-enriched domains of the plasma membrane. Parallel experiments carried out with a phosphatidylcholine analogue, also carrying a diazirine group and labeled with (125)I in the fatty acid moiety, showed the specificity of tubulin interaction with GM1. Taken together, these results indicate that some tubulin molecules are associated with a lipid anchor to detergent-resistant glycolipid-enriched domains of the plasma membrane. This novel feature of membrane domains can provide a key for a better understanding of their biological role.[1]


  1. Tubulin anchoring to glycolipid-enriched, detergent-resistant domains of the neuronal plasma membrane. Palestini, P., Pitto, M., Tedeschi, G., Ferraretto, A., Parenti, M., Brunner, J., Masserini, M. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
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