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Trends Cell Biol. 2000 Dec;10(12):537-42.

An abundance of tubulins.

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  • 1Dept of Molecular Genetics, The Ohio State University, 484 W. 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Recent data have revealed that the tubulin superfamily of proteins is much larger than was thought previously. Six distinct families within the tubulin superfamily have been discovered and more might await discovery. alpha-, beta- and gamma-tubulins are ubiquitous in eukaryotes. alpha- and beta-tubulins are the major components of microtubules, and gamma-tubulin plays a major role in the nucleation of microtubule assembly. delta- and epsilon-tubulins are widespread but not ubiquitous, and zeta-tubulin has been found so far only in kinetoplastid protozoa. delta-Tubulin has an important role in flagellar assembly in Chlamydomonas, but its role in other organisms is just beginning to be investigated, as are the functions of the recently discovered epsilon- and zeta-tubulins.

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