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Abstract

The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a poikilothermic animal living at temperatures between 2-15°C. Isolated cod brain tubulin is, in contrast to mammalian brain tubulin, posttranslationally modified by acetylation to a high extent. To investigate the role of acetylation in cold adaptation, microtubules were isolated by a taxol-dependent procedure from different organs of the cod, and cells from different tissues were cultured. All cells from skin and brain were able to grow between 4°C and room temperature. Microtubules in the cultured cells were sometimes severed near the periphery of the cells. Microtubules in brain cells were in general more stable to vinblastine and colchicine, when compared to skin cells. Acetylated microtubules were found only in brain cells, in peripheral nerves on scales and in nerves of the intestinal tract and in microtubules isolated from neuronal tissue. Our results show that acetylated microtubules are found both in the central and peripheral nervous system, but that there is no correlation between acetylation and cold-adaptation.