Tubulin isotypes: generation of diversity in cells and microtubular organelles.
Gull K., Hussey PJ., Sasse R., Schneider A., Seebeck T., Sherwin T.
Diversity of tubulin isotypes is illustrated by consideration of the beta-tubulin isotypes of higher plants and the eukaryotic microbe, Physarum polycephalum, and by the alpha-tubulin isotypes of the protozoan, Trypanosoma brucei. The carrot plant expresses six, well-defined beta-tubulin isotypes that possess characteristic two-dimensional gel coordinates. These six beta-tubulin isotypes are differentially expressed during development of the flowering plant. In a similar manner, Physarum expresses three separate beta-tubuli isotypes during its life cycle; of the two beta 1 isotypes, one is expressed solely in the myxamoeba whilst the other is expressed both in the myxamoeba and in the plasmodium. A further beta-tubulin isotype, beta 2, is expressed only in the plasmodium. In carrot and in Physarum the generation of beta-tubulin diversity appears, in the main, to be generated by the differential expression of a beta-tubulin multi-gene family. However, tubulin isotypes can also be generated by post-translational modifications and T. brucei utilizes two different modifications within one cell. First, the primary translation product, the alpha 1-tubulin isotype, can be acetylated to produce the alpha 3 isotype. Second, both the alpha 1 and alpha 3 isotypes appear to exist in both tyrosinated and detyrosinated forms. The generation of these alpha-tubulin isotypes within the same cell and their presence in particular cellular domains, modulated throughout the cell cycle, reveals a complex relationship between alpha-tubulin isotypes produced by post-translational modifications and the dynamics of microtubule construction.