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EMBO J. 1992 Dec;11(13):4723-31.

A novel homo-oligomeric protein responsible for an MPF-dependent microtubule-severing activity.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo, Japan.


An activity that severs stable microtubules has previously been detected in M phase extracts, but not in interphase extracts, of Xenopus eggs. We show that incubation of interphase extracts with purified MPF rapidly increases the microtubule-severing activity. We then report the identification and purification of a novel protein factor responsible for this MPF-dependent microtubule-severing activity. The purified microtubule-severing factor is a homo-oligomeric protein composed of 56 kDa polypeptide subunits. These subunits appear to assemble into a pentagonal loop, forming a doughnut-shaped molecule whose overall contours resemble a flattened ball. The microtubule-severing activity of the purified factor does not require ATP or divalent cations, and is inhibited by monomeric tubulin. The purified factor is capable of binding to both monomeric tubulin and microtubules. This factor is thus a novel kind of microtubule-binding protein in both structure and function, and may play an important role in the cell cycle-dependent change in microtubule organization.

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