Alpha- and beta-tubulin isotypes are differentially expressed during brain development

Dev Neurobiol. 2021 Apr;81(3):333-350. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22745. Epub 2020 Apr 25.


Alpha- and beta-tubulin dimers polymerize into protofilaments that associate laterally to constitute a hollow tube, the microtubule. A dynamic network of interlinking filaments forms the microtubule cytoskeleton, which maintains the structure of cells and is key to various cellular processes including cell division, cell migration, and intracellular transport. Individual microtubules have an identity that depends on the differential integration of specific alpha- and beta-tubulin isotypes and is further specified by a variety of posttranslational modifications (PTMs). It is barely understood to which extent neighboring microtubules differ in their tubulin composition or whether specific tubulin isotypes cluster along the polymer. Furthermore, our knowledge about the spatio-temporal expression patterns of tubulin isotypes is limited, not at least due to the lack of antibodies or antibody cross-reactivities. Here, we asked which alpha- and beta-tubulin mRNAs and proteins are expressed in developing hippocampal neuron cultures and ex vivo brain tissue lysates. Using heterologous expression of GFP-tubulin fusion proteins, we systematically tested antibody-specificities against various tubulin isotypes. Our data provide quantitative information about tubulin expression levels in the mouse brain and classify tubulin isotypes during pre- and postnatal development.

Keywords: Tuba1; Tuba3; Tuba4; Tuba8; Tubb1; Tubb2; Tubb3; Tubb4; Tubb5; Tubb6; alpha-tubulin; beta-tubulin; brain; mouse; neuronal development; protein expression; tubulin; tubulin isotypes.