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Blood. 2001 Aug 1;98(3):851-9.

The familial Mediterranean fever protein, pyrin, associates with microtubules and colocalizes with actin filaments.

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Genetics Section, Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases/NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-1820, USA.


Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a recessive disorder characterized by episodes of fever and intense inflammation. FMF attacks are unique in their sensitivity to the microtubule inhibitor colchicine, contrasted with their refractoriness to the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids. The FMF gene, MEFV, was recently identified by positional cloning; it is expressed at high levels in granulocytes and monocytes. The present study investigated the subcellular localization of the normal gene product, pyrin. These experiments did not support previously proposed nuclear or Golgi localizations. Instead fluorescence microscopy demonstrated colocalization of full-length GFP- and epitope-tagged pyrin with microtubules; this was markedly accentuated in paclitaxel-treated cells. Moreover, immunoblot analysis of precipitates of stabilized microtubules with recombinant pyrin demonstrated a direct interaction in vitro. Pyrin expression did not affect the stability of microtubules. Deletion constructs showed that the unique N-terminal domain of pyrin is necessary and sufficient for colocalization, whereas disease-associated mutations in the C-terminal B30.2 (rfp) domain did not disrupt this interaction. By phalloidin staining, a colocalization of pyrin with actin was also observed in perinuclear filaments and in peripheral lamellar ruffles. The proposal is made that pyrin regulates inflammatory responses at the level of leukocyte cytoskeletal organization and that the unique therapeutic effect of colchicine in FMF may be dependent on this interaction. (Blood. 2001;98:851-859)

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