Vesikin, a vesicle associated ATPase from squid axoplasm and optic lobe, has characteristics in common with vertebrate brain MAP 1 and MAP 2. Academic Article uri icon


  • Vesikin, a protein that can associate with squid axoplasmic vesicles or optic lobe microtubules, has been implicated as a force-generating molecule involved in microtubule-dependent vesicle transport [Gilbert and Sloboda, 1986, 1988]. Because vesikin crossreacts with an antibody to porcine brain microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP 2), studies were conducted to compare squid vesikin and brain MAPs. When taxol stabilized microtubules containing vesikin as a microtubule associated protein were incubated in the presence of ATP, vesikin dissociated from the microtubule subunit lattice. This behavior would be expected for an ATP-dependent, force generating molecule that serves as a crossbridge between vesicles and microtubules. When chick brain microtubules were treated under the same conditions, MAP 2 remained bound to the microtubules while MAP 1 dissociated in a manner similar to vesikin. One dimensional peptide mapping procedures revealed that, although digestion of vesikin and MAP 2 generated several peptides common to both proteins, vesikin and MAP 2 are clearly not identical. Furthermore, the addition of vesikin or MAPS 1 and 2 to purified tubulin stimulated microtubule assembly in a manner dependent on the concentration of added protein. These findings demonstrate that brain MAPs share characteristics common to squid vesikin and support the suggestion that brain MAPs 1 and 2 might act as a force generating complex for vesicle transport in higher organisms.

publication date

  • 1988