We used three antitubulin antibodies to localize Dictyostelium tubulin subunits on two-dimensional polyacrylamide gels by Western blotting. All three antibodies, a polyclonal antibody against sea urchin alpha- and beta-tubulin and two monoclonal antibodies against yeast alpha-tubulin, recognize the same set of polypeptides with a molecular weight of 55,000 while focusing at a pH far more basic than all other tubulins. Each antibody specifically stains the microtubule system of slime mold amoebae by indirect immunofluorescence. The microtubule system can be isolated as a major component of the amoeba cytoskeleton, and these preparations are greatly enriched for the presumptive tubulin subunits. The microtubules of these cytoskeletons are resistant to being depolymerized by millimolar concentrations of calcium, while they retain their cold sensitivity. Comparison of peptide maps of slime mold and brain alpha-tubulins indicates that the proteins are related but not identical. Possible explanations for these unusual characteristics are discussed.

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