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Nat Struct Biol. 2003 May;10(5):324-33.

The DCX-domain tandems of doublecortin and doublecortin-like kinase.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0736, USA.


The doublecortin-like domains (DCX), which typically occur in tandem, are novel microtubule-binding modules. DCX tandems are found in doublecortin, a 360-residue protein expressed in migrating neurons; the doublecortin-like kinase (DCLK); the product of the RP1 gene that is responsible for a form of inherited blindness; and several other proteins. Mutations in the gene encoding doublecortin cause lissencephaly in males and the 'double-cortex syndrome' in females. We here report a solution structure of the N-terminal DCX domain of human doublecortin and a 1.5 A resolution crystal structure of the equivalent domain from human DCLK. Both show a stable, ubiquitin-like tertiary fold with distinct structural similarities to GTPase-binding domains. We also show that the C-terminal DCX domains of both proteins are only partially folded. In functional assays, the N-terminal DCX domain of doublecortin binds only to assembled microtubules, whereas the C-terminal domain binds to both microtubules and unpolymerized tubulin.

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