Molecular genetic approaches to microtubule-associated protein function


  • Jesus Ávila
  • C. Gonzalez Billault


microtubule-associated proteins, knockout, review


Protein function in vivo can be studied by deleting (knock-out) the gene that encodes it, and search for the consequences. This procedure involves different technologies, including recombinant DNA procedures, cell biology methods and histological and immunocytochemical analysis.

In this work we have reviewed these procedures when they have been applied to ascertain the function of several microtubule-associated proteins. These proteins have been previously involved, through in vitro experiments, in having a role in the microtubule stabilization. Here, we will summarize the generation and characterization of different microtubule-associated protein knock-out mice. Special attention will be paid to MAPlB knock-out mice. Amongst the different MAPs knock-out mice these show the strongest phenotype, the most likely for being MAPlB, the MAP that is expressed earliest in neurogenesis.

Molecular genetics could be considered as a valid and useful procedure to truly establish the in vivo functions of a protein, although it is necessary to be aware of possible artifacts such as the generation of some kinds of RNA alternative splicing. To avoid this the best strategy to be used must consider the deletion of the exon that contains the functional domains of the protein.




Invited Reviews