Encoding functional information into the microtubule cytoskeleton
Carsten Janke Institut Curie – Orsay
Our team is interested in the functions of tubulin posttranslational modifications. Tubulin, the building block of the microtubules, is modified by a range of very special posttranslational modifications, such as enzymatic generation of glutamate or glycine side chains, enzymatic removal and re-addition of a C-terminal tyrosine. These modifications take place once the tubulin has polymerized into microtubules, which suggests that they encode information important for the functional specification or the fine-tuning of specific microtubule functions.
While the modifications have been known for a long time, functional studies have remained difficult because nothing was known about the enzymes responsible for these modifications. The recent discovery of most of these enzymes in our team has allowed us to start functional and mechanistic studies that gave us first insights into the divergent roles of tubulin posttranslational modifications. In my presentation, I will give an overview of our first results, our ongoing projects and interests.