Microtubules are dynamic cytoskeletal polymers that assemble
from /-tubulin and are vital for the establishment of cell
polarity, vesicle trafficking and formation of the mitotic/meiotic
spindle. -Tubulin, a protein related to /-tubulin, is required
for initiating the polymerization of microtubules in vivo.
-Tubulin has been found in two main protein complexes: the
-tubulin ring complex and its subunit, the -tubulin small
complex. The latter is analogous to the yeast Tub4 complex. In
the past year, important advances have been made in
understanding the structure and function of the -tubulin ring
complex and how it interacts with microtubules.
*Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Howard Hughes
Medical Institute, University of California San Francisco, 513
Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0448, USA
Current Opinion in Structural Biology 2001, 11:174181
0959-440X/01/$ -- see front matter
© 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.