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We describe the cDNA cloning of ninein, a novel component of centrosomes. In the mouse, ninein is predicted to be an acidic protein (calculated pI of 4.8) with alternatively spliced forms of 245 kDa and 249 kDa that contain extensive regions of coiled-coil structure flanked by non-coiled ends. Other interesting features of this protein include an EF-hand-like domain, a potential GTP binding site and four leucine zipper domains. Specific polyclonal antisera were raised to two non-overlapping recombinant fragments of the protein and used to characterise the cellular distribution of ninein. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy experiments with macrophage-like cells, Mm1, showed that ninein is localised specifically in the pericentriolar matrix of the centrosome. Studies with NIH3T3 fibroblasts demonstrated that ninein is associated with the centrosome throughout the cell cycle and can also be detected within nuclei at interphase. At mitosis ninein was also observed in association with the mitotic spindle. Immunocytochemical staining of mouse tissues showed that ninein was expressed in a heterogeneous fashion. Staining, if present, was always consistent with a centrosomal localisation and was never associated with nuclei. Ninein provides a new molecular tool for analysing the structure and function of the centrosome.


Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date



109 ( Pt 1)


179 - 190


3T3 Cells, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Cell Cycle, Centrosome, Cloning, Molecular, Cytoskeletal Proteins, DNA, GTP-Binding Proteins, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Nuclear Proteins, Proteins, Spindle Apparatus