Cold-stable and cold-adapted microtubules

Int Rev Cytol. 1995;157:1-31. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(08)62155-5.


Most mammalian microtubules disassemble at low temperature, but some are cold stable. This probably has little to do with a need for cold-stable microtubules, but reflects that certain populations of microtubules must be stabilized for specific functions. There are several routes by which to achieve cold stability. Factors that interact with microtubules, such as microtubule-associated proteins, STOPs (stable tubule only polypeptides), histones, and possibly capping factors, are involved. Specific tubulin isotypes and posttranslational modifications might also be of importance. More permanent stable microtubules can be achieved by bundling factors, associations to membranes, as well as by assembly of microtubule doublets and triplets. This is, however, not the explanation for cold adaptation of microtubules from poikilothermic animals, that is, animals that must have all their microtubules adapted to low temperatures. All evidence so far suggests that cold adaptation is intrinsic to the tubulins, but it is unknown whether it depends on different amino acid sequences or posttranslational modifications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological* / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / drug effects
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Paclitaxel