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Mol Cell Biol. 1989 Mar;9(3):875-84.

Interacting proteins identified by genetic interactions: a missense mutation in alpha-tubulin fails to complement alleles of the testis-specific beta-tubulin gene of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0347.


In this paper we demonstrate that failure to complement between mutations at separate loci can be used to identify genes that encode interacting structural proteins. A mutation (nc33) identified because it failed to complement mutant alleles of the gene encoding the testis-specific beta 2-tubulin of Drosophila melanogaster (B2t) did not map to the B2t locus. We show that this second-site noncomplementing mutation is a missense mutation in alpha-tubulin that results in substitution of methionine in place of valine at amino acid 177. Because alpha- and beta-tubulin form a heterodimer, our results suggest that the genetic interaction, failure to complement, is based on the structural interaction between the protein products of the two genes. Although the nc33 mutation failed to complement a null allele of B2t (B2tn), a deletion of the alpha-tubulin gene to which nc33 mapped complemented B2tn. Thus, the failure to complement appears to require the presence of the altered alpha-tubulin encoded by the nc33 allele, which may act as a structural poison when incorporated into either the tubulin heterodimer or microtubules.

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