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As the first step towards correlating structure and function of tubulin in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum we have elucidated the nucleotide sequence of a cDNA that appears to code for all but the last 25 to 30 C-terminal amino acids of a plasmodial α-tubulin. Differences in amino acid sequence from those of other α-tubulins are distributed fairly evenly throughout the sequence, although a relatively extensive conserved region is found in position 396 to 426 near the C terminus. A small region in position 298 to 307 contains a cluster of amino acid residues unique to Physarum α-tubulin. The sequence is 70% homologous to two yeast a-tubulins and about 83% homologous to five animal α-tubulins. A comparison of the homologies of all the known α-tubulins indicates that a large decrease in the accepted point mutation rate has occurred during the evolution of the metazoa, suggesting a major functional specialization of microtubules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-638
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 25 1985


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