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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 15, 1992; 89(18): 8567–8571.

Primary structure of tektin A1: comparison with intermediate-filament proteins and a model for its association with tubulin.


Tektins are proteins that form filamentous polymers in the walls of ciliary and flagellar microtubules and that have biochemical and immunological properties similar to those of intermediate-filament proteins. We report here the sequence of a cDNA for tektin A1, one of the main tektins from Strongylocentrotus purpuratus sea urchin embryos. By hybridization analysis, tektin A mRNA appears maximally at ciliogenesis. The predicted structure of tektin A1 (M(r) 52,955) is a series of alpha-helical rod segments separated by nonhelical linkers. The two halves of the rod appear homologous and are probably related by gene duplication. Comparison of tektin A1 with intermediate-filament proteins, including nuclear lamins, reveals a low amino acid homology but similar molecular motif, i.e., pattern of helical and nonhelical domains. This study indicates that tektins are unique proteins but may be evolutionarily related to intermediate-filament proteins, and suggests a structural basis for the interaction of tektins and tubulin in microtubules.

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