The folding of actin and tubulin is mediated via interaction with a heteromeric toroidal complex (cytoplasmic chaperonin) that hydrolyzes ATP as part of the reaction whereby native proteins are ultimately released. Vertebrate actin-related protein (actin-RPV) (also termed centractin) and gamma-tubulin are two proteins that are distantly related to actin and tubulin, respectively: gamma-tubulin is exclusively located at the centrosome, while actin-RPV is conspicuously abundant at the same site. Here we show that actin-RPV and gamma-tubulin are both folded via interaction with the same chaperonin that mediates the folding of beta-actin and alpha- and beta-tubulin. In each case, the unfolded polypeptide forms a binary complex with cytoplasmic chaperonin and is released as a soluble, monomeric protein in the presence of Mg-ATP and the presence or absence of Mg-GTP. In contrast to alpha- and beta-tubulin, the folding of gamma-tubulin does not require the presence of cofactors in addition to chaperonin itself. Monomeric actin-RPV produced in in vitro folding reactions cocycles efficiently with native brain actin, while in vitro folded gamma-tubulin binds to polymerized microtubules in a manner consistent with interaction with microtubule ends. Both monomeric actin-RPV and gamma-tubulin bind to columns of immobilized nucleotide: monomeric actin-RPV has no marked preference for ATP or GTP, while gamma-tubulin shows some preference for GTP binding. We show that actin-RPV and gamma-tubulin compete with one another, and with beta-actin or alpha-tubulin, for binary complex formation with cytoplasmic chaperonin.

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