Delta-tubulin and epsilon-tubulin: two new human centrosomal tubulins reveal new aspects of centrosome structure and function

Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Jan;2(1):30-5. doi: 10.1038/71350.


The centrosome organizes microtubules, which are made up of alpha-tubulin and beta-tubulin, and contains centrosome-bound gamma-tubulin, which is involved in microtubule nucleation. Here we identify two new human tubulins and show that they are associated with the centrosome. One is a homologue of the Chlamydomonas delta-tubulin Uni3, and the other is a new tubulin, which we have named epsilon-tubulin. Localization of delta-tubulin and epsilon-tubulin to the centrosome is independent of microtubules, and the patterns of localization are distinct from each other and from that of gamma-tubulin. Delta-tubulin is found in association with the centrioles, whereas epsilon-tubulin localizes to the pericentriolar material. epsilon-Tubulin exhibits a cell-cycle-specific pattern of localization, first associating with only the older of the centrosomes in a newly duplicated pair and later associating with both centrosomes. epsilon-Tubulin thus distinguishes the old centrosome from the new at the level of the pericentriolar material, indicating that there may be a centrosomal maturation event that is marked by the recruitment of epsilon-tubulin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Centrosome / chemistry*
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / chemistry
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nocodazole / pharmacology
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tubulin / analysis
  • Tubulin / genetics
  • Tubulin / immunology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tubulin
  • Nocodazole

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF201333
  • GENBANK/AF201334