Differential expression of human γ-tubulin isotypes during neuronal development and oxidative stress points to a γ-tubulin-2 prosurvival function

FASEB J. 2017 May;31(5):1828-1846. doi: 10.1096/fj.201600846RR. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


γ-Tubulins are highly conserved members of the tubulin superfamily essential for microtubule nucleation. Humans possess 2 γ-tubulin genes. It is thought that γ-tubulin-1 represents a ubiquitous isotype, whereas γ-tubulin-2 is found predominantly in the brain, where it may be endowed with divergent functions beyond microtubule nucleation. The molecular basis of the purported functional differences between γ-tubulins is unknown. We report discrimination of human γ-tubulins according to their electrophoretic and immunochemical properties. In vitro mutagenesis revealed that the differences in electrophoretic mobility originate in the C-terminal regions of the γ-tubulins. Using epitope mapping, we discovered mouse monoclonal antibodies that can discriminate between human γ-tubulin isotypes. Real time quantitative RT-PCR and 2-dimensional-PAGE showed that γ-tubulin-1 is the dominant isotype in fetal neurons. Although γ-tubulin-2 accumulates in the adult brain, γ-tubulin-1 remains the major isotype in various brain regions. Localization of γ-tubulin-1 in mature neurons was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence microscopy on clinical samples and tissue microarrays. Differentiation of SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells by all-trans retinoic acid, or oxidative stress induced by mitochondrial inhibitors, resulted in upregulation of γ-tubulin-2, whereas the expression of γ-tubulin-1 was unchanged. Fractionation experiments and immunoelectron microscopy revealed an association of γ-tubulins with mitochondrial membranes. These data indicate that in the face of predominant γ-tubulin-1 expression, the accumulation of γ-tubulin-2 in mature neurons and neuroblastoma cells during oxidative stress may denote a prosurvival role of γ-tubulin-2 in neurons.-Dráberová, E., Sulimenko, V., Vinopal, S., Sulimenko, T., Sládková, V., D'Agostino, L., Sobol, M., Hozák, P., Křen, L., Katsetos, C. D., Dráber, P. Differential expression of human γ-tubulin isotypes during neuronal development and oxidative stress points to γ-tubulin-2 prosurvival function.

Keywords: microtubules; mitochondria; neuroblastoma differentiation; neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Tubulin / metabolism*


  • TUBG1 protein, human
  • TUBG2 protein, human
  • Tubulin