Microtubules (MTs) play specialized roles in a wide variety of cellular events, e.g. molecular transport, cell motility, and cell division. Specialized MT architectures, such as bundles, axonemes, and centrioles, underlie the function. The specialized function and highly organized structure depend on interactions with MT-binding proteins. MT-associated proteins (e.g. MAP1, MAP2, and tau), molecular motors (kinesin and dynein), plus-end tracking proteins (e.g. CLIP-170), and MT-severing proteins (e.g. katanin) interact with MTs. How can the MT-binding proteins know temporospatial information to associate with MTs and to properly play their roles? Post-translational modifications (PTMs) including detyrosination, polyglutamylation, and polyglycylation can provide molecular landmarks for the proteins. Recent efforts to identify modification-regulating enzymes (TTL, carboxypeptidase, polyglutamylase, polyglycylase) and to generate genetically manipulated animals enable us to understand the roles of the modifications. In this review, we present recent advances in understanding regulation of MT function, structure, and stability by PTMs.
2010 by Japan Society for Cell Biology