About MAP / Microtubule-Associated Protein:
Microtubule-associated protein, referred to as MAP, interacts with microtubules found in the cellular cytoskeleton. They are a loosely defined group, but they do have specific functions within the cell.
There are two primary MAP categories. These are MAP1 proteins under Type I. Type II MAPs are MAP2, MAP4, and tau proteins.
MAP1 proteins perform a different mechanism to other MAPs. Unlike Type II, these proteins bind to microtubules with charge interactions. The C termini will bind the microtubules, whereas the N termini will bind other areas of the plasma membrane or the cytoskeleton to control cell spacing.
MAP2 proteins are only found in mammals and contribute to determining different cell nerve structures.
Microtubule-Associated Protein Interactions
They interact with microtubules within the cellular cytoskeleton. There is still uncertainty about what the N-terminals in MAP2 proteins do, although it is assumed they are interacting with other proteins.
Conversely, MAP4 proteins interact with almost all types of cells, rather than just nerve cells. Despite this, they still contribute to stabilization, and there is evidence that links the interactions to cell division.
Phosphorylation regulates MAP activity and enables the control of microtubule stability.
MAPs perform an array of functions. These include the stabilization and destabilization of microtubules. They also lead microtubules to the right cellular location, perform cross-linking with other microtubules, and mediate interactions between proteins found within the cell.
This makes MAPs an essential part of the cytoskeleton. Most importantly is their role in cytoskeletal rearrangements when undergoing neuronal growth along with axon guidance and forming synapses.
Microtubule-Associated Protein Structure
MAPs are structured with polymers of both alpha- and beta-tubulin dimers. These are considered the building blocks of microtubules.
The most well-known MAP is the Tau protein, which is a primary element of tangles found in Alzheimer’s and has undergone extensive research.