CDK5RAP2 is a pericentriolar protein that functions in centrosomal attachment of the γ-tubulin ring complex

Ka Wing Fong, Yuk Kwan Choi, Jerome B. Rattner, Robert Z. Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


Microtubule nucleation and organization by the centrosome require γ-tubulin, a protein that exists in a macromolecular complex called the γ-tubulin ring complex (γTuRC). We report characterization of CDK5RAP2, a novel centrosomal protein whose mutations have been linked to autosomal recessive primary microcephaly. In somatic cells, CDK5RAP2 localizes throughout the pericentriolar material in all stages of the cell cycle. When overexpressed, CDK5RAP2 assembled a subset of centrosomal proteins including γ-tubulin onto the centrosomes or under the microtubule-disrupting conditions into microtubule-nucleating clusters in the cytoplasm. CDK5RAP2 associates with the γTuRC via a short conserved sequence present in several related proteins found in a range of organisms from fungi to mammals. The binding of CDK5RAP2 is required for γTuRC attachment to the centrosome but not for γTuRC assembly. Perturbing CDK5RAP2 function delocalized γ-tubulin from the centrosomes and inhibited centrosomal microtubule nucleation, thus leading to disorganization of interphase microtubule arrays and formation of anastral mitotic spindles. Together, CDK5RAP2 is a pericentriolar structural component that functions in γTuRC attachment and therefore in the microtubule organizing function of the centrosome. Our findings suggest that centrosome malfunction due to the CDK5RAP2 mutations may underlie autosomal recessive primary microcephaly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-125
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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