Microtubule severing by elongation factor 1 alpha

N ShiinaE Nishida


An activity that severs stable microtubules is thought to be involved in microtubule reorganization during the cell cycle. Here, a 48-kilodalton microtubule-severing protein was purified from Xenopus eggs and identified as translational elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1 alpha). Bacterially expressed human EF-1 alpha also displayed microtubule-severing activity in vitro and, when microinjected into fibroblasts, induced rapid and transient fragmentation of cytoplasmic microtubule arrays. Thus, EF-1 alpha, an essential component of the eukaryotic translational apparatus, appears to have a second role as a regulator of cytoskeletal rearrangements.


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