Primary structure and microtubule-interacting domain of the SP-H antigen: A mitotic map located at the spindle pole and characterized as a homologous protein to NuMA

Takami Maekawa, Ryoko Kuriyama

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Using a human autoantibody, SP-H, we identified a 200-230 kDa mitotic MAP in a variety of mammalian cell lines which shows affinity for the minus end of microtubules and also becomes associated with the spindle pole during mitosis. To examine the detailed structure and functional organization of the protein, the gene coding for the end-specific MAP was isolated and characterized by screening a human placenta λgt11 expression library using SP-H as a probe. Overlapping cDNA clones, which covered the entire length of the coding region of the SP-H antigen, were obtained. Polyclonal antibodies raised against fusion proteins generated from non-overlapping cDNA fragments stained the HeLa SP-H antigen in interphase and mitotic cells, and recognized a single 215 kDa band on immunoblots, as did the original SP-H antibody. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence revealed a 7,091 nucleotide sequence with an open reading frame of 6,345 nucleotides encoding a 2,115 amino acid polypeptide with a calculated molecular mass of 238,376 Da. The predicted amino acid sequence showed the protein to be composed of an α-helical domain, flanked by globular domains located at the amino and carboxy termini. The sequence contained five repeats of the hypothetical leucine zipper motif: one is in the N-terminal globular domain, and four are in the central α-helical stalk. Comparison with other sequences in the database shows that the SP-H antigen is identical to the NuMA protein reported by Yang et al. (1992) J. Cell Biol. 116, 1303-1317, but there are differences between the SP-H antigen and NuMA sequence reported by Compton et al. (1992) J. Cell Biol. 116, 1395-1408. cDNA inserts of the truncated SP-H antigen were expressed in both insect Sf9 cells and in cultured mammalian cells. The recombinant protein corresponding to the C-terminal half of the protein was restricted to the nucleus, whereas the N-terminal half of the protein was localized in the cytoplasm, suggesting the presence of a nuclear translocation signal(s) in the C-terminal domain. The C-terminal polypeptide expressed in mitotic COS cells was shown to specifically localize at the spindle pole. Microtubule-binding assays using in vitro transcribed/translated polypeptide products from different domains of the SP-H antigen further suggested that the SP-H antigen interacts with microtubules through the globular domain at the C-terminus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-600
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • Autoantibody
  • Baculovirus
  • Gene cloning
  • Leucine zipper
  • Microtubules
  • Mitosis
  • Mitotic poles
  • NuMA
  • Spindle
  • Transfection


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