Cellular localization, oligomerization, and membrane association of the hereditary spastic paraplegia 3A (SPG3A) protein atlastin.

Peng Peng Zhu, Andrew Patterson, Brigitte Lavoie, Julia Stadler, Marwa Shoeb, Rakesh Patel, Craig Blackstone

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Hereditary spastic paraplegias comprise a group of clinically heterogeneous syndromes characterized by lower extremity spasticity and weakness, with distal axonal degeneration in the long ascending and descending tracts of the spinal cord. The early onset hereditary spastic paraplegia SPG3A is caused by mutations in the atlastin/human guanylate-binding protein-3 gene (renamed here atlastin-1), which codes for a 64-kDa member of the dynamin/Mx/guanylate-binding protein superfamily of large GTPases. The atlastin-1 protein is localized predominantly in brain, where it is enriched in pyramidal neurons in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. In cultured cortical neurons, atlastin-1 co-localized most prominently with markers of the Golgi apparatus, and immunogold electron microscopy revealed a predominant localization of atlastin-1 to the cis-Golgi. Yeast two-hybrid analyses and co-immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that atlastin-1 can self-associate, and gel-exclusion chromatography and chemical cross-linking studies indicated that atlastin-1 exists as an oligomer in vivo, most likely a tetramer. Membrane fractionation and protease protection assays revealed that atlastin-1 is an integral membrane protein with two predicted transmembrane domains; both the N-terminal GTP-binding and C-terminal domains are exposed to the cytoplasm. Together, these findings indicate that the SPG3A protein atlastin-1 is a multimeric integral membrane GTPase that may be involved in Golgi membrane dynamics or vesicle trafficking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49063-49071
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 5 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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