The structure of the γ-tubulin small complex

Implications of its architecture and flexibility for microtubule nucleation

Justin M. Kollman, Alex Zelter, Eric G D Muller, Bethany Fox, Luke M. Rice, Trisha N. Davis, David A. Agard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The γ-tubulin small complex (γ-TuSC) is an evolutionarily conserved heterotetramer essential for microtubule nucleation. We have determined the structure of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae γ-TuSC at 25-Å resolution by electron microscopy. γ-TuSC is Y-shaped, with an elongated body connected to two arms. Gold labeling showed that the two γ-tubulins are located in lobes at the ends of the arms, and the relative orientations of the other γ-TuSC components were determined by in vivo FRET. The structures of different subpopulations of γ-TuSC indicate flexibility in the connection between a mobile arm and the rest of the complex, resulting in variation of the relative positions and orientations of the γ-tubulins. In all of the structures, the γ-tubulins are distinctly separated, a configuration incompatible with the microtubule lattice. The separation of the γ-tubulins in isolated γ-TuSC likely plays a role in suppressing its intrinsic microtubule-nucleating activity, which is relatively weak until the γ-TuSC is incorporated into higher order complexes or localized to microtubule-organizing centers. We propose that further movement of the mobile arm is required to bring the γ-tubulins together in microtubule-like interactions, and provide a template for microtubule growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

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Tubulin
Microtubules
Microtubule-Organizing Center
Gold
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Electron Microscopy
Growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

The structure of the γ-tubulin small complex : Implications of its architecture and flexibility for microtubule nucleation. / Kollman, Justin M.; Zelter, Alex; Muller, Eric G D; Fox, Bethany; Rice, Luke M.; Davis, Trisha N.; Agard, David A.

In: Molecular Biology of the Cell, Vol. 19, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 207-215.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kollman, Justin M. ; Zelter, Alex ; Muller, Eric G D ; Fox, Bethany ; Rice, Luke M. ; Davis, Trisha N. ; Agard, David A. / The structure of the γ-tubulin small complex : Implications of its architecture and flexibility for microtubule nucleation. In: Molecular Biology of the Cell. 2008 ; Vol. 19, No. 1. pp. 207-215.
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