Tubulin Cofactors and Arl 2 are Cage - like Chaperones that regulate the soluble αβ - Tubulin 1 pool for Microtubule Dynamics
Supplying the appropriate amount of correctly folded α/β-tubulin heterodimers is critical for microtubule dynamics. Formation of assembly-competent heterodimers is remarkably elaborate at the molecular level, in which the α- and β-tubulins are separately processed in a chaperone-dependent manner. This sequential step is performed by the tubulin-folding cofactor pathway, comprising a specific set of regulatory proteins: cofactors A-E. We identified the fission yeast cofactor: the orthologue of cofactor C, Tbc1. In addition to its roles in tubulin folding, Tbc1 acts as a GAP in regulating Alp41/Arl2, a highly conserved small GTPase. Of interest, the expression of GDP- or GTP-bound Alp41 showed the identical microtubule loss phenotype, suggesting that continuous cycling between these forms is important for its functions. In addition, we found that Alp41 interacts with Alp1(D), the orthologue of cofactor D, specifically when in the GDP-bound form. Intriguingly, Alp1(D) colocalizes with microtubules when in excess, eventually leading to depolymerization, which is sequestered by co-overproducing GDP-bound Alp41. We present a model of the final stages of the tubulin cofactor pathway that includes a dual role for both Tbc1 and Alp1(D) in opposing regulation of the microtubule.