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INTRODUCTION Microtubules are required for a variety of cellular processes,

Microtubules are required for a variety of cellular processes,
such as mitosis, organelle transport and the establishment of
cell shape. These diverse functions require modulation of the
intrinsic lability of microtubules that derives from their
dynamic instability (Mitchison and Kirschner, 1984). This is
especially important in the nervous system, where stable
microtubules in nerve cell processes are essential for rapid
axonal transport. Structural microtubule-associated proteins
(MAPs) are believed to play an important role in the stabilisa-
tion of microtubules. They are particularly abundant in the
nervous system and are identified by their co-purification with
tubulin and their association with microtubules both in vitro
and in vivo. Functionally, they promote microtubule assembly
and stability.
Structural MAPs comprise high-molecular weight proteins,
such as MAP1a, MAP1b, MAP2a, MAP2b, MAP4 and big tau,
as well as low-molecular weight proteins, such as MAP2c and
tau (for reviews, see Müller et al., 1994; Matus, 1994; Bulinski,
1994; Goedert et al., 1994). Additional isoforms of these


Source: Ahringe, Julie - Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge


Collections: Biology and Medicine