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Calmodulin binds to a tubulin binding site of the microtubule-associated protein tau

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Previous studies have demonstrated that the microtubule - associated proteins MAP-2 and tau interact selectively with common binding domains on tubulin defined by the low-homology segments a (430–441) and β (422–434). It has been also indicated that the synthetic peptide VRSKIGSTENLKHQPGGG corresponding to the first tau repetitive sequence represents a tubulin binding domain on tau. The present studies show that the calcium-binding protein calmodulin interacts with a tubulin binding site on tau defined by the second repetitive sequence VTSKCGSLGNIHHKPGGG. It was shown that both tubulin and calmodulin bind to tau peptide-Sepharose affinity column. Binding of calmodulin occurs in the presence of 1 mM Ca 2+ and it can be eluted from the column with 4 mM EGTA. These findings provide new insights into the regulation of microtubule assembly, since Ca 2+/calmodulin inhibition of tubulin polymerization into microtubules could be mediated by the direct binding of calmodulin to tau, thus preventing the interaction of this latter protein with tubulin.

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Correspondence to Ricardo B. Maccioni.

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Padilla, R., Maccioni, R.B. & Avila, J. Calmodulin binds to a tubulin binding site of the microtubule-associated protein tau. Mol Cell Biochem 97, 35–41 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00231699

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Key words

  • tau protein
  • tubulin binding site
  • calmodulin interaction
  • microtubule assembly