Tubulin polyglycylation in platyhelminthes: Diversity among stable microtubule networks and very late occurrence during spermiogenesis

Carlo Iomini, Marie Hélène Bré, Nicolette Levilliers, Jean Lou Justine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The distribution of glycylated tubulin has been analyzed in different populations of stable microtubules in a digenean flatworm, Echinostoma caproni (Platyhelminthes). Two cellular types, spermatozoa and ciliated excretory cells, have been analyzed by means of immunofluorescence, immunogold, and immunoblotting techniques using two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), AXO 49, and TAP 952, specifically directed against differently glycylated isoforms of tubulin. The presence of glycylated tubulin in the two cell types was shown. However, the differential reactivities of TAP 952 and AXO 49 mAbs with the two axoneme types suggest a difference in their glycylation level. In addition, within a single cell, the spermatozoon, cortical microtubules underlying the flagellar membrane, and axonemal microtubules were shown to comprise different tubulin isoforms, the latter ones only being labelled with one of the antiglycylated tubulin mAbs, TAP 952. Similarly, the antiacetylated (6-11B-1) and polyglutamylated (GT335) tubulin mAbs decorated the two types of axonemal microtubules, but not the cortical ones. From these data, a subcellular sorting of posttranslationally modified tubulin isoforms within spermatozoa, on the one hand, and a cellular sorting of glycylated isoforms inside the whole organism, on the other hand, is demonstrated in the flatworm E. caproni. Last, a sequential occurrence of tubulin posttranslational modifications was observed in the course of spermiogenesis. Acetylation appears first, followed shortly by glutamylation; glycylation takes place at the extreme end of spermiogenesis and, specifically, in a proximo-distal process. Thus in agreement with, and extending other studies [Bre et al., 1996], glycylation appears to close the sequence of posttranslational events occurring in axonemal microtubules during spermiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-330
Number of pages13
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Platyhelminthes
  • Polyglycylation
  • Posttranslational modifications
  • Spermatozoa
  • Stable microtubules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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