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Mol Biol Cell. Jun 1996; 7(6): 935–948.
PMCID: PMC275944

Overexpression of cytoplasmic dynein's globular head causes a collapse of the interphase microtubule network in Dictyostelium.


Cytoplasmic dynein is a minus-end directed microtubule-based motor. Using a molecular genetic approach, we have begun to dissect structure-function relationships of dynein in the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium. Expression of a carboxy-terminal 380-kDa fragment of the heavy chain produces a protein that approximates the size and shape of the globular, mechanochemical head of dynein. This polypeptide cosediments with microtubules in an ATP-sensitive fashion and undergoes a UV-vanadate cleavage reaction. The deleted amino-terminal region appears to participate in dimerization of the native protein and in binding the intermediate and light chains. Overexpression of the 380-kDa carboxy-terminal construct in Dictyostelium produces a distinct phenotype in which the interphase radial microtubule array appears collapsed. In many cells, the microtubules form loose bundles that are whorled around the nucleus. Similar expression of a central 107-kDa fragment of the heavy chain does not produce this result. The data presented here suggest that dynein may participate in maintaining the spatial pattern of the interphase microtubule network.

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