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Mol Biol Cell. 1996 May;7(5):731-42.

p150Glued, the largest subunit of the dynactin complex, is nonessential in Neurospora but required for nuclear distribution.

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Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-3258, USA.


Dynactin is a multisubunit complex that is required for cytoplasmic dynein, a minus-end-directed, microtubule-associated motor, to efficiently transport vesicles along microtubules in vitro. p150Glued, the largest subunit of dynactin, has been identified in vertebrates and Drosophila and recently has been shown to interact with cytoplasmic dynein intermediate chains in vitro. The mechanism by which dynactin facilitates cytoplasmic dynein-dependent vesicle transport is unknown. We have devised a genetic screen for cytoplasmic dynein/dynactin mutants in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. In this paper, we report that one of these mutants, ro-3, defines a gene encoding an apparent homologue of p150Glued, and we provide genetic evidence that cytoplasmic dynein and dynactin interact in vivo. The major structural features of vertebrate and Drosophila p150Glued, a microtubule-binding site at the N-terminus and two large alpha-helical coiled-coil regions contained within the distal two-thirds of the polypeptide, are conserved in Ro3. Drosophila p150Glued is essential for viability; however, ro-3 null mutants are viable, indicating that dynactin is not an essential complex in N. crassa. We show that N. crassa cytoplasmic dynein and dynactin mutants have abnormal nuclear distribution but retain the ability to organize cytoplasmic microtubules and actin in anucleate hyphae.

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