Purified brain tubulin subjected to an exhaustive phosphatase treatment can be rephosphorylated by casein kinase II. This phosphorylation takes place mainly on a serine residue, which has been located at the carboxy-terminal domain of the beta-subunit. Interestingly, tubulin phosphorylated by casein kinase II retains its ability to polymerize in accordance with descriptions by other authors of in vivo phosphorylated tubulin. Moreover, the V8 phosphopeptide patterns of both tubulin phosphorylated in vitro by casein kinase II and tubulin phosphorylated in vivo in N2A cells are quite similar, and different from that of tubulin phosphorylated in vitro by Ca/calmodulin-dependent kinase II. On the other hand, we have found an endogenous casein kinase II-like activity in purified brain microtubule protein that uses GTP and ATP as phosphate donors, is inhibited by heparin, and phosphorylates phosphatase-treated tubulin. Thus it appears that a casein kinase II-like activity should be considered a candidate for the observed phosphorylation of beta-tubulin in vivo in brain or neuroblastoma cells.

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