The TACC domain identifies a family of centrosomal proteins that can interact with microtubules.
Gergely F., Karlsson C., Still I., Cowell J., Kilmartin J., Raff JW.
We recently showed that the Drosophila transforming acidic coiled-coil (D-TACC) protein is located in the centrosome, interacts with microtubules, and is required for mitosis in the Drosophila embryo. There are three known human TACC proteins that share a conserved, C-terminal, coiled-coil region with D-TACC. These proteins have all been implicated in cancer, but their normal functions are unknown. We show that all three human TACC proteins are concentrated at centrosomes, but with very different characteristics: TACC1 is weakly concentrated at centrosomes during mitosis; TACC2 is strongly concentrated at centrosomes throughout the cell cycle; and TACC3 is strongly concentrated in a more diffuse region around centrosomes during mitosis. When the C-terminal TACC domain is overexpressed in HeLa cells, it forms large polymers in the cytoplasm that can interact with both microtubules and tubulin. The full-length TACC proteins form similar polymers when overexpressed, but their interaction with microtubules and tubulin is regulated during the cell cycle. At least one of the human TACC proteins appears to increase the number and/or stability of centrosomal microtubules when overexpressed during mitosis. Thus, the TACC domain identifies a family of centrosomal proteins that can interact with microtubules. This may explain the link between the TACC genes and cancer.