Gamma-tubulin complexes: size does matter

Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Sep;9(9):339-42. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(99)01621-9.


gamma-Tubulin is a conserved component of all microtubule-organizing centres and is required for these organelles to nucleate microtubule polymerization. However, the mechanism of nucleation is not known. In addition to its localization to organizing centres, a large pool of gamma-tubulin exists in the cytoplasm in a complex with other proteins. The size of the gamma-tubulin complex and number of associated proteins vary among organisms, and the functional significance of these differences is unknown. Recently, the nature of these gamma-tubulin complexes has been explored in different organisms, and this has led us closer to a molecular understanding of microtubule nucleation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Population Groups / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Centrosome / chemistry
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microtubules / chemistry
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Morphogenesis
  • Spindle Apparatus / chemistry
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tubulin / chemistry*


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Tubulin