On the Identification of α‐ and β‐Tubulin Subunits

G. W. Perry, David L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Abstract: Confusion appears to have arisen in the literature regarding the designation of α‐and β‐tubulin in polyacrylamide gels. The presence or absence of 8 M‐urea in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) polyacrylamide gels leads to different patterns for unalkylated tubulin subunits (and other proteins), making difficult the designation of the α and β subunits by original definition using electrophoretic mobility in the molecular weight dimension. The specific biochemical property of posttranslational tyrosylation of the α subunit has been used to identify further this subunit. Under all conditions tested, the β subunit has been found to be more acidic than the α subunit, with isoelectric point differences that agree with theoretical and published values. If the tubulin subunits are reduced and alkylated, the β subunit migrates more rapidly in SDS polyacrylamide gels, with or without urea present. However, unalkylated tubulin subunits can comigrate or even reverse their relative mobility if 8 M‐urea‐SDS polyacrylamide gels are used for subunit separation. The results also confirm the earlier reports that the post‐translational tyrosylation of protein appears exclusively restricted to α‐tubulin and can be demonstrated in an in vivo situation. In addition, the results suggest that only the α2 subunit of tubulin is tyrosylated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1159
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1982


  • Alkylation
  • Carboxymethylation
  • Tubulin
  • Two‐dimensional electro‐phoresis
  • Tyrosylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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