Here, we report that a centrosomal protein FOR20 [FOP (FGFR1 (fibroblast growth factor receptor 1) oncogene protein)-like protein of molecular mass of 20 kDa; also named as C16orf63, FLJ31153 or PHSECRG2] can regulate the assembly and stability of microtubules. Both FOR20 IgG antibody and GST (glutathione S-transferase)-tagged FOR20 could precipitate tubulin from the HeLa cell extract, indicating a possible interaction between FOR20 and tubulin. FOR20 was also detected in goat brain tissue extract and it cycled with microtubule-associated proteins. Furthermore, FOR20 bound to purified tubulin and inhibited the assembly of tubulin in vitro. The overexpression of FOR20 depolymerized interphase microtubules and the depletion of FOR20 prevented nocodazole-induced depolymerization of microtubules in HeLa cells. In addition, the depletion of FOR20 suppressed the dynamics of individual microtubules in live HeLa cells. FOR20-depleted MDA-MB-231 cells displayed zigzag motion and migrated at a slower rate than the control cells, indicating that FOR20 plays a role in directed cell migration. The results suggested that the centrosomal protein FOR20 is a new member of the microtubule-associated protein family and that it regulates the assembly and dynamics of microtubules.

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