The Glu-Modification of a-Tubulin in the Feeding Apparatus

of the Primitive Flagellate Entosiphon sulcatum

Is Only Apparent After Detergent Treatment

Witold Mütze, Ralf N. Breuker and Manfred Hauser1

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Lehrstuhl für Zellmorphologie, Bochum, Germany


Using specific monoclonal antibodies, we investigated the distribution of post-translational modified Tyr- and Glu-tubulins during interphase of the primitive flagellate Entosiphon sulcatum. Immunofluorescence studies of simultaneously permeabilized and fixed cells revealed that microtubular structures comprising Ca2+-labile subpellicular and flagellar MTs and Ca2+-stable MTs in the siphon complex (feeding organelle) reacted surprisingly unorthodox with antibodies against Tyr- and Glu-tubulin: Unexpectedly, the siphon complex consisting of Ca2+-stable MTs appeared exclusively Tyr-positive, whereas the Ca2+-labile subpellicular and flagellar MTs reacted with the Glu- as well as with the Tyr-antibody. That the siphon MTs were indeed Ca2+-stable and all other MTs had become solubilized, was verified by EM-observation.

This surprising result contrasting considerably with the permanent nature of the siphon complex, was reconsidered after preceding lysis and extraction procedures. Depending on the type of detergent used and on extraction times applied, the MTs of the siphon complex now always showed also Glu-positivity, indicating the presence of detyrosinated a-tubulin as a biochemical marker of stabilized MTs. Since saponin, irrespective of subsequent extraction times, always produced a Glu-positive reaction and ultrastructural analysis never gave compelling evidence for a drastic MAP-removal, we conclude that the Glu-epitope became freely accessible due to conformational changes in the tubulin polymeres.

Key Words: Entosiphon sulcatum; feeding apparatus; tyr-tubulin; glu-tubulin; Ca2+-stable microtubules.

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