The expression and cytological distribution of acetylated alpha-tubulin was investigated in Physarum polycephalum. A monoclonal antibody specific for acetylated alpha-tubulin, 6-11B-1 (Piperno, G., and M. T. Fuller, 1985, J. Cell Biol., 101:2085-2094), was used to screen for this protein during three different stages of the Physarum life cycle--the amoeba, the flagellate, and the plasmodium. Western blots of two-dimensional gels of amoebal and flagellate proteins reveal that this antibody recognizes the alpha 3 tubulin isotype, which was previously shown to be formed by posttranslational modification (Green, L. L., and W. F. Dove, 1984, Mol. Cell. Biol., 4:1706-1711). Double-label immunofluorescence demonstrates that, in the flagellate, acetylated alpha-tubulin is localized in the flagella and flagellar cone. Similar experiments with amoebae interestingly reveal that only within the microtubule organizing center (MTOC) are there detectable amounts of acetylated alpha-tubulin. In contrast, the plasmodial stage gives no evidence for acetylated alpha-tubulin by Western blotting or by immunofluorescence.

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