Tubulin alpha 4A - A ubiquitous tubulin isoform linked to ALS and infertility

Mon, 02/15/2016 - 15:23

Microtubules are a main component of the cytoskeleton and play essential roles in a variety of cellular processes. These highly dynamic tubular structures are assembled from alpha- and beta-tubulin dimers to form a complex structural network of microtubules throughout the cytoplasm. This network provides a substrate for intracellular trafficking of vesicles, organelles, and other cargo and can also facilitate cell migration. Additionally, during cell division, microtubules make up the mitotic spindle and provide the mechanical force for chromosome segregation. The diversity of microtubule functions is made possible by the large number of binding partners as well as regulation through post-translational modification. Microtubule associated proteins (MAPs), such as kinesin or dynein, can bind to tubulin and transport cargo while others alter microtubule stability. The tubulin family of proteins consists of many isoforms, each with specialized roles within the cell.

Of these various isoforms, tubulin Alpha 4A (TUBA4A), has recently been implicated in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (1). Research by Smith et. al. published in Neuron used alpha Tubulin 4a antibody to characterize mutant proteins found in ALS patients and were able to show defects in microtubule polymerization (1). Immunohistochemistry with  alpha Tubulin 4a antibody along with qPCR has demonstrated high expression in neuronal cells. Although no specific function has been described for TUBA4A, with this study it joins a group of cytoskeletal proteins that are mutated in ALS (1). TUBA4A is ubiquitously expressed and, in addition to this role in the nervous system, is involved in left-right symmetry in developing embryos (2) and in sperm motility (3). Bhagwat et al. performed western blots with alpha Tubulin 4a antibodies to show increased levels of this protein relative the TUBA3C, a testis-specific tubulin that is often acetylated (3). Immunofluorescence staining of sperm with defective motility with alpha Tubulin 4a antibodies showed similar results (3). This is an important finding for infertility research, which will help decipher the role of tubulin isoforms in sperm motility (3). Together these recent studies demonstrate the utility of alpha Tubulin 4a antibodies in these medically relevant research areas.

Novus Biologicals offers alpha Tubulin 4a reagents for your research needs including:


  1. 25374358
  2. 22802643
  3. 24268707

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