Myosin-Va was identified as a microtubule binding protein by cosedimentation analysis in the presence of microtubules. Native myosin-Va purified from chick brain, as well as the expressed globular tail domain of this myosin, but not head domain bound to microtubule-associated protein-free microtubules. Binding of myosin-Va to microtubules was saturable and of moderately high affinity (�1:24 Myosin-Va:tubulin; K d � 70 nM). Myosin-Va may bind to microtubules via its tail domain because microtubule-bound myosin-Va retained the ability to bind actin filaments resulting in the formation of cross-linked gels of microtubules and actin, as assessed by fluorescence and electron microscopy. In low Ca 2 � , ATP addition induced dissolution of these gels, but not release of myosin-Va from MTs. However, in 10 �M Ca 2 � , ATP addition resulted in the contraction of the gels into aster-like arrays. These results demonstrate that myosin-Va is a microtubule binding protein that cross-links and mechanochemically couples microtubules to actin filaments
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