Distinct α- and β-tubulin isotypes are required for the positioning, differentiation and survival of neurons: New support for the 'multi-tubulin' hypothesis

Max Tischfield, Elizabeth C. Engle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

The many functions of the microtubule cytoskeleton are essential for shaping the development and maintaining the operation of the nervous system. With the recent discovery of congenital neurological disorders that result from mutations in genes that encode different α- and β-tubulin isotypes (TUBA1A, TUBB2B, TUBA8 and TUBB3), scientists have a novel paradigm to assess how select perturbations in microtubule function affect a range of cellular processes in humans. Moreover, important phenotypic distinctions found among the syndromes suggest that different tubulin isotypes can be utilized for distinct cellular functions during nervous system development. In the present review, we discuss: (i) the spectrum of congenital nervous system diseases that result from mutations in tubulin and MAPs (microtubule-associated proteins); (ii) the known or putative roles of these proteins during nervous system development; (iii) how the findings collectively support the 'multi-tubulin' hypothesis, which postulates that different tubulin isotypes may be required for specialized microtubule functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalBioscience Reports
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Keywords

  • Axon guidance
  • Cell migration
  • Microtubule
  • Nervous system
  • TUBB3
  • Tubulin

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