Microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) have been isolated from cultured cells of Drosophila melanogaster by a taxol-dependent polymerization procedure. The principal MAPs are a group of four polypeptides with similar electrophoretic mobilities corresponding to approximately Mr 205,000 (the 205K MAP). These proteins are resistant to precipitation by boiling. One mouse monoclonal antibody and one polyclonal rabbit antiserum specific for the Mr 205,000 MAP were produced and characterized by immunoblotting and indirect immunofluorescence. Both antibody preparations stain the Mr 205,000 molecules and an Mr 255,000 molecule in immunoblots of Drosophila cell homogenates; the rabbit antiserum also stains an Mr 150,000 triplet. Both preparations stain the microtubules of the mitotic spindle, and the rabbit antiserum stains the cytoplasmic microtubules as well. Experiments using affinity-purified rabbit antiserum demonstrate that it is the Mr 205,000 species that is located in the mitotic apparatus and on cytoplasmic microtubules. A random shear genomic library was produced in the expressing vector lambda gt11 and screened with the rabbit antiserum to isolate the DNA sequences encoding these polypeptides. Several cross-hybridizing clones were recovered, shown to encode antigenic determinants in the Mr 205,000 MAP, and characterized by hybridization to Northern blots of mRNA and Southern blots of genomic DNA. Analysis by in situ hybridization reveals that the gene encoding the 205K MAP is located in polytene region 100EF.

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