Heterogeneity of vertebrate brain tubulins

D. J. Field, R. A. Collins, J. C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


We have examined the extent of brain tubulin heterogeneity in six vertebrate species commonly used in tubulin research (rat, calf, pig, chicken, human and lamb) using isoelectric focusing, two-dimensional electrophoresis, and peptide mapping procedures that provide higher resolution than previously available. The extent of heterogeneity is extremely similar in all of these organisms, as judged by number, range of isoelectric points, and distribution of the isotubulins. A minimum of 6 α and 12 β tubulins was resolved from all sources. Even the pattern of spots on two-dimensional peptide maps is remarkably similar. These similarities suggest that the populations of tubulin in all of these brains should have similar overall physical properties. It is particularly interesting that chicken, which has only four or five β-tubulin genes, contains approximately 12 β tubulins. Thus, post-translational modification must generate at least some of the tubulin heterogeneity. Mammalian species, which contain 15-20 tubulin DNA sequences, do not show any more tubulin protein heterogeneity than does chicken. This suggests that expression of only a small number of the mammalian genes may be required to generate the observed tubulin heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4041-4045
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13 I
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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