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Cell. 2010 Oct 15;143(2):263-74. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.09.022.

Patronin regulates the microtubule network by protecting microtubule minus ends.

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  • 1The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158-2200, USA.


Tubulin assembles into microtubule polymers that have distinct plus and minus ends. Most microtubule plus ends in living cells are dynamic; the transitions between growth and shrinkage are regulated by assembly-promoting and destabilizing proteins. In contrast, minus ends are generally not dynamic, suggesting their stabilization by some unknown protein. Here, we have identified Patronin (also known as ssp4) as a protein that stabilizes microtubule minus ends in Drosophila S2 cells. In the absence of Patronin, minus ends lose subunits through the actions of the Kinesin-13 microtubule depolymerase, leading to a sparse interphase microtubule array and short, disorganized mitotic spindles. In vitro, the selective binding of purified Patronin to microtubule minus ends is sufficient to protect them against Kinesin-13-induced depolymerization. We propose that Patronin caps and stabilizes microtubule minus ends, an activity that serves a critical role in the organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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