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Milano, Italy

Solinger J.A.,C. Elegans Genetics | Paolinelli R.,C. Elegans Genetics | Kloss H.,C. Elegans Genetics | Kloss H.,Geistlich Pharma AG | And 8 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2010

Although acetylated α-tubulin is known to be a marker of stable microtubules in neurons, precise factors that regulate α-tubulin acetylation are, to date, largely unknown. Therefore, a genetic screen was employed in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that identified the Elongator complex as a possible regulator of α-tubulin acetylation. Detailed characterization of mutant animals revealed that the acetyltransferase activity of the Elongator is indeed required for correct acetylation of microtubules and for neuronal development. Moreover, the velocity of vesicles on microtubules was affected by mutations in Elongator. Elongator mutants also displayed defects in neurotransmitter levels. Furthermore, acetylation of α-tubulin was shown to act as a novel signal for the fine-tuning of microtubules dynamics by modulating α-tubulin turnover, which in turn affected neuronal shape. Given that mutations in the acetyltransferase subunit of the Elongator (Elp3) and in a scaffold subunit (Elp1) have previously been linked to human neurodegenerative diseases, namely Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Familial Dysautonomia respectively highlights the importance of this work and offers new insights to understand their etiology. © 2010 Solinger et al.

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