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J Neurochem. 2005 Dec;95(5):1411-20. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Human spastin has multiple microtubule-related functions.

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Molecular NeuroPathobiology Laboratories, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, Lincoln's Inn Fields Laboratories, London, UK.


Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are neurodegenerative diseases caused by mutations in more than 20 genes, which lead to progressive spasticity and weakness of the lower limbs. The most frequently mutated gene causing autosomal dominant HSP is SPG4, which encodes spastin, a protein that belongs to the family of ATPases associated with various cellular activities (AAAs). A number of studies have suggested that spastin regulates microtubule dynamics. We have studied the ATPase activity of recombinant human spastin and examined the effect of taxol-stabilized microtubules on this activity. We used spastin translated from the second ATG and provide evidence that this is the physiologically relevant form. We showed that microtubules enhance the ATPase activity of the protein, a property also described for katanin, an AAA of the same spastin subgroup. Furthermore, we demonstrated that human spastin has a microtubule-destabilizing activity and can bundle microtubules in vitro, providing new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of HSP.

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