PACSIN proteins bind tubulin and promote microtubule assembly

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PACSINs are intracellular adapter proteins involved in vesicle transport, membrane dynamics and actin reorganisation. In this study, we report a novel role for PACSIN proteins as components of the centrosome involved in microtubule dynamics. Glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged PACSIN proteins interacted with protein complexes containing α- and γ-tubulin in brain homogenate. Analysis of cell lysates showed that all three endogenous PACSINs co-immunoprecipitated dynamin, α-tubulin and γ-tubulin. Furthermore, PACSINs bound only to unpolymerised tubulin, not to microtubules purified from brain. In agreement, the cellular localisation of endogenous PACSIN 2 was not affected by the microtubule depolymerising reagent nocodazole. By light microscopy, endogenous PACSIN 2 localised next to γ-tubulin at purified centrosomes from NIH 3T3 cells. Finally, reduction of PACSIN 2 protein levels with small-interfering RNA (siRNA) resulted in impaired microtubule nucleation from centrosomes, whereas microtubule centrosome splitting was not affected, suggesting a role for PACSIN 2 in the regulation of tubulin polymerisation. These findings suggest a novel function for PACSIN proteins in dynamic microtubuli nucleation.

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