Microtubule plus-end tracking proteins in differentiated mammalian cells

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008;40(4):619-37. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2007.10.015. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


Differentiated mammalian cells are often characterized by highly specialized and polarized structure. Its formation and maintenance depends on cytoskeletal components, among which microtubules play an important role. The shape and dynamic properties of microtubule networks are controlled by multiple microtubule-associated factors. These include molecular motors and non-motor proteins, some of which accumulate specifically at the growing microtubule plus-ends (the so-called microtubule plus-end tracking proteins). Plus-end tracking proteins can contribute to the regulation of microtubule dynamics, mediate the cross-talk between microtubule ends, the actin cytoskeleton and the cell cortex, and participate in transport and positioning of structural and regulatory factors and membrane organelles. Malfunction of these proteins results in various human diseases including some forms of cancer, neurodevelopmental disorders and mental retardation. In this article we discuss recent data on microtubule dynamics and activities of microtubule plus-end binding proteins important for the physiology and pathology of differentiated mammalian cells such as neurons, polarized epithelia, muscle and sperm cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Humans
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins