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Curr Biol. 2000 May 18;10(10):603-6.

Dynamics of cytoplasmic dynein in living cells and the effect of a mutation in the dynactin complex actin-related protein Arp1.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


Cytoplasmic dynein is a minus-end-directed microtubule motor that participates in multiple cellular activities such as organelle transport and mitotic spindle assembly [1]. To study the dynamic behavior of cytoplasmic dynein in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, we replaced the gene for the cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain, nudA, with a gene encoding a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged chimera, GFP-nudA. The GFP-NUDA fusion protein is fully functional in vivo: strains expressing only the GFP-tagged nudA grow as well as wild-type strains. Fluorescence microscopy showed GFP-NUDA to be in comet-like structures that moved in the hyphae toward the growing tip. Retrograde movement of some GFP-NUDA comets after they arrived at the tip was also observed. These dynamics of GFP-NUDA were not observed in cells treated with a microtubule-destabilizing drug, benomyl, suggesting they are microtubule-dependent. The rate of GFP-NUDA tip-ward movement is similar to the rate of cytoplasmic microtubule polymerization toward the hyphal tip, suggesting that GFP-NUDA is associated and moving with the polymerizing ends of microtubules. A mutation in actin-related protein Arp1 of the dynactin complex abolishes the presence of these dynamic GFP-NUDA structures near the hyphal tip, suggesting a targeting role of the dynactin complex.

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