Identification of katanin, an ATPase that severs and disassembles stable microtubules

Francis J. McNally, Ronald D. Vale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

384 Scopus citations


Eukaryotic cells rapidly reorganize their microtubule cytoskeleton during the cell cycle, differentiation, and cell migration. In this study, we have purified a heterodimeric protein, katanin, that severs and disassembles microtubules to tubulin dimers. The disassembled tubulin can repolymerize, indicating that it is not irreversibly modified or denatured in the reaction. Katanin is a microtubule-stimulated ATPase and requires ATP hydrolysis to sever microtubules. Katanin represents a novel type of enzyme that utilizes energy from nucleotide hydrolysis to break tubulin-tubulin bonds within a microtubule polymer, a process that may aid in disassembling complex microtubule arrays within cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 5 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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