In VivoRoles of the Basic Domain of Dynactin p150 in Microtubule Plus-End Tracking and Dynein Function

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Abstract

Microtubule (MT) plus-end-tracking proteins accumulate at MT plus ends for various cellular functions, but their targeting mechanisms are not fully understood (Akhmanova A and Steinmetz MO. Tracking the ends: a dynamic protein network controls the fate of microtubule tips. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2008;9:309–322.). Here, we tested in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans the requirement for plus-end localization of dynactin p150, a protein essential for dynein function. Deletion of the N-terminal MT-binding region of p150 significantly diminishes the MT plus-end accumulation of both dynein heavy chain and p150, and causes a partial defect in nuclear distribution. Surprisingly, within the MT-binding region, the basic domain is more critical than the CAP-Gly (cytoskeleton-associated protein glycine-rich) domain for maintaining plus-end tracking of p150, as well as for the functions of dynein in nuclear distribution and early endosome movement. Our results show that the basic domain of A. nidulans p150 is important for p150–MT interaction both in vivo and in vitro, and the basic amino acids within this domain are crucial for the plus-end accumulation of p150 in the wild-type background and for the p150–MT interaction in the ΔkinA (kinesin-1) background. We suggest that the basic amino acids are required for the electrostatic interaction between p150 and MTs, which is important for kinesin-1-mediated plus-end targeting of dynactin and dynein in A. nidulans.

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