Three of four mRNAs that are specific to the differentiation of Naegleria gruberi amebae into flagellates (Mar, J., J. H. Lee, D. Shea, and C. J. Walsh, 1986, J. Cell Biol., 102:353-361) have been identified as coding for flagellar proteins. The products of these mRNAs, which are coordinately regulated during the differentiation, were identified by in vitro translation of hybrid-selected RNA followed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and antibody binding. Six cross-hybridizing clones complementary to a 1.7-kb RNA (class II) all selected mRNA that was translated into two alpha-tubulins. The principal in vitro product, alpha-1, comigrated with a cytoplasmic alpha-tubulin, while the minor product with a more acidic pI, alpha-2, comigrated with flagellar alpha-tubulin. While Naegleria flagellar alpha-tubulin was found to be acetylated based on its reaction with a monoclonal antibody specific to this form, we suggest that alpha-2 is not likely to arise due to acetylation in vitro but probably represents the product of a second alpha-tubulin gene. The class III clone, also complementary to a 1.7-kb RNA, selected beta-tubulin mRNA. In the course of this work it was found, using monoclonal antibodies to the alpha- and beta-subunits of tubulin, that Naegleria alpha-tubulin migrated faster than beta-tubulin on SDS-PAGE. The class IV clone, which hybridizes with a 0.5-kb RNA, selected an mRNA that was translated into a heat stable calcium-binding protein, flagellar calmodulin.

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