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Trends Cell Biol. 2002 Jun;12(6):267-73.

XMAP215: a key component of the dynamic microtubule cytoskeleton.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


Microtubules are essential for various cellular processes including cell division and intracellular organization. Their function depends on their ability to rearrange their distribution at different times and places. Microtubules are dynamic polymers and their behaviour is described as dynamic instability. Rearrangement of the microtubule cytoskeleton is made possible by proteins that modulate the parameters of dynamic instability. Studies using Xenopus egg extracts led to identification of a microtubule-associated protein called XMAP215 as a major regulator of physiological microtubule dynamics. XMAP215 belongs to an evolutionarily conserved protein family present in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals. Together with members of the Kin I family of kinesins, XMAP215 and its orthologues form an essential circuit for generating dynamic microtubules in vivo.

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