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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Dec 1;90(23):11039-43.

Molecular cloning and centrosomal localization of human caltractin.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037.


Caltractin, a 20-kDa calcium-binding protein, was previously purified and cloned at the DNA level from the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas. It is a structural component of the basal body complex, the major microtubule-organizing center in Chlamydomonas and the functional homolog of the centrosome in the animal cell. Here we report the characterization of a cDNA encoding a human caltractin that shares a high degree of amino acid identity (70%) with its algal counterpart. Caltractin was identified in both HeLa and BHK cells as a 21-kDa polypeptide specifically localized to the centrosome of interphase and mitotic cells. The high level of conservation in the amino acid sequence of caltractin from algae to humans and its association with the major microtubule-organizing center in the cell suggest that caltractin plays a fundamental role in microtubule-organizing center structure and function.

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