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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Oct;23(19):3827-37. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-07-0496. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Dynactin's pointed-end complex is a cargo-targeting module.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


Dynactin is an essential part of the cytoplasmic dynein motor that enhances motor processivity and serves as an adaptor that allows dynein to bind cargoes. Much is known about dynactin's interaction with dynein and microtubules, but how it associates with its diverse complement of subcellular binding partners remains mysterious. It has been suggested that cargo specification involves a group of subunits referred to as the "pointed-end complex." We used chemical cross-linking, RNA interference, and protein overexpression to characterize interactions within the pointed-end complex and explore how it contributes to dynactin's interactions with endomembranes. The Arp11 subunit, which caps one end of dynactin's Arp1 filament, and p62, which binds Arp11 and Arp1, are necessary for dynactin stability. These subunits also allow dynactin to bind the nuclear envelope prior to mitosis. p27 and p25, by contrast, are peripheral components that can be removed without any obvious impact on dynactin integrity. Dynactin lacking these subunits shows reduced membrane binding. Depletion of p27 and p25 results in impaired early and recycling endosome movement, but late endosome movement is unaffected, and mitotic spindles appear normal. We conclude that the pointed-end complex is a bipartite structural domain that stabilizes dynactin and supports its binding to different subcellular structures.

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