Expression and function of beta-tubulin isotypes in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells

Tadao Sawada, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The availability of isotype specific antisera for $\beta$-tubulin, coupled with genetic and biochemical analysis, has allowed the determination of $\beta$-tubulin isotype expression and distribution in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Using genetic manipulations involving selection for colcemid resistance followed by reversion and reselection for drug resistance, we have succeeded in isolating cell lines that exhibit three major and one minor $\beta$-tubulin spots by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. In concert with isotype specific antibodies, analysis of these mutants demonstrates that CHO cells express two copies of isotype I, at least one copy of isotype IV, and very small amounts of isotype V. Their stoichiometry is approximately 1:1:0.7:0.2. All three isotypes assemble into both cytoplasmic and spindle microtubules, and are similar in their responses to cold, colcemid, and calcium induced depolymerization. They have comparable turnover rates and are equally sensitive to depression of synthesis upon colchicine treatment. These results suggest that $\beta$-tubulin isotypes are used interchangeably to assemble microtubule structures in CHO cells. However, of 18 colcemid resistant mutants with a demonstrable alteration in $\beta$-tubulin, all were found to have the alteration in isotype I, thus leaving open the possibility that subtle differences in isotype properties may exist. Under various conditions of the cell growth, the relative proportion of each expressed isotype does not significantly seem to change except in the early G1 phase of the cell cycle. At this time the synthesis of isotype V increases more than two fold relative to isotype I and IV, while at the same time, total $\beta$-tubulin synthesis is decreased about 60-70%.

Subject Area

Biology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Sawada, Tadao, "Expression and function of beta-tubulin isotypes in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells" (1989). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8924473.