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Alf1p, a CLIP-170 Domain-containing Protein, Is Functionally and Physically Associated with α-Tubulin


Tubulin is a heterodimer of alpha- and beta-tubulin polypeptides. Assembly of the tubulin heterodimer in vitro requires the CCT chaperonin complex, and a set of five proteins referred to as the tubulin cofactors (Tian, F., Y. Huang, H. Rommelaere, J. Vandekerckhove, C. Ampe, and N.J. Cowan. 1996. Cell. 86:287-296; Tian, G., S.A. Lewis, B. Feierbach, T. Stearns, H. Rommelaere, C. Ampe, and N.J. Cowan. 1997. J. Cell Biol. 138:821-832). We report the characterization of Alf1p, the yeast ortholog of mammalian cofactor B. Alf1p interacts with alpha-tubulin in both two-hybrid and immunoprecipitation assays. Alf1p and cofactor B contain a single CLIP-170 domain, which is found in several microtubule-associated proteins. Mutation of the CLIP-170 domain in Alf1p disrupts the interaction with alpha-tubulin. Mutations in alpha-tubulin that disrupt the interaction with Alf1p map to a domain on the cytoplasmic face of alpha-tubulin; this domain is distinct from the region of interaction between alpha-tubulin and beta-tubulin. Alf1p-green fluorescent protein (GFP) is able to associate with microtubules in vivo, and this localization is abolished either by mutation of the CLIP-170 domain in Alf1p, or by mutation of the Alf1p-binding domain in alpha-tubulin. Analysis of double mutants constructed between null alleles of ALF1 and PAC2, which encodes the other yeast alpha-tubulin cofactor, suggests that Alf1p and Pac2p act in the same pathway leading to functional alpha-tubulin. The phenotype of overexpression of ALF1 suggests that Alf1p can act to sequester alpha-tubulin from interaction with beta-tubulin, raising the possibility that it plays a regulatory role in the formation of the tubulin heterodimer.

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