Biological Functions of Microtubules and Related Structures

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The family of proteins called the tubulin and the microtubules they form when they aggregate are extremely important in the cell and, as we are increasingly learning, important in diseases that afflict so many. This field of investigation is a testament to how important both basic and clinical sciences are in understanding disease mechanisms and making inroads into therapies.

Microtubule Targets in Cancer Therapy presents the first comprehensive exploration of the dynamic potential of microtubules anti-cancer targets. Written by leading anti-cancer researchers, this groundbreaking volume collects the most current microtubule research available. Among the topics examined in this volume are compounds that interact with tubulin, mechanisms and regulation by microtubule-associated proteins and drugs, MAPs, the tubulin superfamily its isotopes, peptides and depsipeptides, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Without the basic scientific knowledge that has been accumulated — to which the contributors of this work have contributed greatly — we would not be in the position we find ourselves as we increasingly understand disease and advancing therapies. Microtubule Targets in Cancer Therapy contributes to this new knowledge, and the text will be an invaluable resource for cancer researchers, oncologists, pharmacologists, and medical chemists. Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Advertisement Hide. Front Matter Pages i-xviii.

Pages Microtubule Dynamics. The Post-Translational Modifications of Tubulin. The Isotypes of Tubulin. The Tubulin Superfamily. Tubulin Proteomics in Cancer. For instance, cilia and eukaryotic flagella move as a result of microtubules sliding along each other. In fact, cross sections of these tail-like cellular extensions show organized arrays of microtubules.

Other cell movements, such as the pinching off of the cell membrane in the final step of cell division also known as cytokinesis are produced by the contractile capacity of actin filament networks. Actin filaments are extremely dynamic and can rapidly form and disassemble. In fact, this dynamic action underlies the crawling behavior of cells such as amoebae.

At the leading edge of a moving cell, actin filaments are rapidly polymerizing; at its rear edge, they are quickly depolymerizing Figure 5. A large number of other proteins participate in actin assembly and disassembly as well. These protrusive structures contain actin filaments, with elongating barbed ends orientated toward the plasma membrane. B During cellular arm extension, the plasma membrane sticks to the surface at the leading edge.

C Next, the nucleus and the cell body are pushed forward through intracellular contraction forces mediated by stress fibers.

The Role of Microtubules in Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Oncology

D Then, retraction fibers pull the rear of the cell forward. Filopodia: molecular architecture and cellular functions. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 9, All rights reserved. Figure Detail. This page appears in the following eBook. Aa Aa Aa. Microtubules and Filaments. What Is the Cytoskeleton Made Of? The cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells is made of filamentous proteins, and it provides mechanical support to the cell and its cytoplasmic constituents. All cytoskeletons consist of three major classes of elements that differ in size and in protein composition.

Microtubules are the largest type of filament, with a diameter of about 25 nanometers nm , and they are composed of a protein called tubulin. Actin filaments are the smallest type, with a diameter of only about 6 nm, and they are made of a protein called actin. Intermediate filaments, as their name suggests, are mid-sized, with a diameter of about 10 nm.

Unlike actin filaments and microtubules, intermediate filaments are constructed from a number of different subunit proteins.


What Do Microtubules Do? Figure 1. What Do Actin Filaments Do? Figure 2. What Do Intermediate Filaments Do? Intermediate filaments are composed of smaller strands in the shape of rods. How Do Cells Move? The cytoskeleton of a cell is made up of microtubules, actin filaments, and intermediate filaments. These structures give the cell its shape and help organize the cell's parts. In addition, they provide a basis for movement and cell division. Cell Biology for Seminars, Unit 3.

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