One of the major groups of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) found associated with the microtubules isolated from HeLa cells has a molecular weight of just over 200,000. Previous work has demonstrated that these heLa MAPs are similar in several properties to MAP-2, one of the major MAPs of mammalian neural microtubules, although the two types of proteins are immunologically distinct. The 200,000 mol wt HeLa MAPs have now been found to remain soluble after incubation in a boiling water bath and to retain the ability to promote tubulin polymerization after this treatment, two unusual properties also shown by neural MAP-2. This property of heat stability has allowed the development of a simplified procedure for purification of the 200,000 HeLa MAPs and has provided a means for detection of these proteins, even in crude cell extracts. These studies have also led to the detection of a protein in crude extracts of HeLa cells and in cycled HeLa microtubules which has been identified as MAP-2 on the basis of (a) comigration with calf brain MAP-2 on SDS PAGE, (b) presence in purified microtubules, (c) heat stability, and (d) reaction with two types of antibodies prepared against neural high molecular weight-MAPs, one of these a monoclonal antibody against hog brain MAP-2, although present in HeLa cells, is at all stages of microtubule purification a relatively minor component in comparison to the 200,000 HeLa MAP's.

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