Yeast mutants of cell cycle gene cdc48-1 arrest as large budded cells with microtubules spreading aberrantly throughout the cytoplasm from a single spindle plaque. The gene was cloned and disruption proved it to be essential. The CDC48 sequence encodes a protein of 92 kD that has an internal duplication of 200 amino acids and includes a nucleotide binding consensus sequence. Vertebrate VCP has a 70% identity over the entire length of the protein. Yeast Sec18p and mammalian N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein, which are involved in intracellular transport, yeast Pas1p, which is essential for peroxisome assembly, and mammalian TBP-1, which influences HIV gene expression, are 40% identical in the duplicated region. Antibodies against CDC48 recognize a yeast protein of apparently 115 kD and a mammalian protein of 100 kD. Both proteins are bound loosely to components of the microsomal fraction as described for Sec18p and N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein. This similarity suggests that CDC48p participates in a cell cycle function related to that of N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein/Sec18p in Golgi transport.

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