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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Molecular & Cellular Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The cytoskeleton is a dynamic network of microtubules constantly being reorganized to meet the spatiotemporal demands of the cell. Microtubules are organized into subcellular highways to control cell processes such as cell division, cargo transport, and neuronal development and maintenance. Reorganization of this intricate network is tightly regulated by various stabilizing and destabilizing microtubule-associated proteins that decorate the network. Katanin p60 is a microtubule destabilizing enzyme from the ATPases Associated with various Activities (AAA+) family. It can both sever and depolymerize microtubules. In order to sever microtubules, katanin recognizes the tubulin carboxy-terminal tails (CTTs) and hydrolyzes ATP. Using super-resolution microscopy and image analysis, we find that the tubulin CTTs are not required for katanin to depolymerize microtubules. We also characterize the regulation of microtubule severing and depolymerization by katanin in various nucleotide states. A better understanding of how CTTs and nucleotides regulate microtubule severing and depolymerization by katanin will help future research aimed to correct katanin activity when these processes goes awry as in improper chromosome segregation during mitosis or loss of microtubule integrity in neuronal diseases.


First Advisor

Jennifer L. Ross