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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 May;74(5):1860-4.

In vitro assembly of pure tubulin into microtubules in the absence of microtubule-associated proteins and glycerol.


Microtubule protein from porcine cerebrum was fractionate into pure tubulin and microtubule-associated proteins by chromatography on phosphocellulose. In agreement with previous studies, pure tubulin does not form microtubules to a significant extent at 37 degrees in normal assembly buffers, which are characterized by a low concentration of Mg2+ ions. If, however, the Mg2+ concentration is raised to approximately 10 mM, rapid and extensive self-assembly of pure tubulin into microtubules is observed, provided the tubulin concentration is above 2.5 mg/ml. At a protein concentration of 3 mg/ml, the lag period is 1.5 min and the assembly process is virtually complete after 6 min at 37 degrees. These microtubules are like normal microtubules--sensitive to calcium ions, colchicine, and low temperature.

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