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

Intrinsically slow dynamic instability of HeLa cell microtubules in vitro.

The dynamic behavior of mammalian microtubules has been extensively studied, both in living cells and with microtubules assembled from purified brain tubulin. To understand the intrinsic dynamic behavior of mammalian nonneural microtubules, we purified tubulin from cultured HeLa cells. We find that HeLa cell microtubules exhibit remarkably slow dynamic instability, spending most of their time in an attenuated state. The tempered dynamics contrast sharply with the dynamics of microtubules prepared from purified bovine brain tubulin under similar conditions. In accord with their minimal dynamic instability, assembled HeLa cell microtubules displayed a slow treadmilling rate and a low guanosine-5'-triphosphate hydrolysis rate at steady state. We find that unlike brain tubulin, which consists of a heterogeneous mixture of beta-tubulin isotypes (beta(II), beta(III), and beta(IV) and a low level of beta(I)), HeLa cell tubulin consists of beta(I) tubulin ( approximately 80%) and a minor amount of beta(IV) tubulin ( approximately 20%). The slow dynamic behavior of HeLa cell microtubules in vitro differs strikingly from the dynamic behavior of microtubules in living cultured mammalian cells, supporting the idea that accessory factors create the robust dynamics that occur in cells.[1]


  1. Intrinsically slow dynamic instability of HeLa cell microtubules in vitro. Newton, C.N., DeLuca, J.G., Himes, R.H., Miller, H.P., Jordan, M.A., Wilson, L. J. Biol. Chem. (2002) [Pubmed]
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