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J Cell Biol. 2000 Feb 7;148(3):505-18.

Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) protein moves along microtubules and concentrates at their growing ends in epithelial cells.

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Tsukita Cell Axis Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Kyoto Research Park, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8813, Japan.


Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor protein has been shown to be localized near the distal ends of microtubules (MTs) at the edges of migrating cells. We expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fusion proteins with full-length and deletion mutants of Xenopus APC in Xenopus epithelial cells, and observed their dynamic behavior in live cells. During cell spreading and wound healing, GFP-tagged full-length APC was concentrated as granules at the tip regions of cellular extensions. At higher magnification, APC appeared to move along MTs and concentrate as granules at the growing plus ends. When MTs began to shorten, the APC granules dropped off from the MT ends. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that fuzzy structures surrounding MTs were the ultrastructural counterparts for these GFP signals. The COOH-terminal region of APC was targeted to the growing MT ends without forming granular aggregates, and abruptly disappeared when MTs began to shorten. The APC lacking the COOH-terminal region formed granular aggregates that moved along MTs toward their plus ends in an ATP-dependent manner. These findings indicated that APC is a unique MT-associated protein that moves along selected MTs and concentrates at their growing plus ends through their multiple functional domains.

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