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Structural intermediates in the assembly of taxoid-induced microtubules and GDP-tubulin double rings: time-resolved X-ray scattering

By J.F. Diaz, J.M. Andreu, G.P. Diakun, Elizabeth Towns-Andrews and J. Bordas


We have studied the self-association reactions of purified GDP-liganded tubulin into double rings and taxoid-induced microtubules, employing synchrotron time-resolved x-ray solution scattering. The experimental scattering profiles have been interpreted by reference to the known scattering profiles to 3 nm resolution and to the low-resolution structures of the tubulin dimer, tubulin double rings, and microtubules, and by comparison with oligomer models and model mixtures. The time courses of the scattering bands corresponding to the different structural features were monitored during the assembly reactions under varying biochemical conditions. GDP-tubulin essentially stays as a dimer at low Mg(2+) ion activity, in either the absence or presence of taxoid. Upon addition of the divalent cations, it associates into either double-ring aggregates or taxoid-induced microtubules by different pathways. Both processes have the formation of small linear (short protofilament-like) tubulin oligomers in common. Tubulin double-ring aggregate formation, which is shown by x-ray scattering to be favored in the GDP- versus the GTP-liganded protein, can actually block microtubule assembly. The tubulin self-association leading to double rings, as determined by sedimentation velocity, is endothermic. The formation of the double-ring aggregates from oligomers, which involves additional intermolecular contacts, is exothermic, as shown by x-ray and light scattering. Microtubule assembly can be initiated from GDP-tubulin dimers or oligomers. Under fast polymerization conditions, after a short lag time, open taxoid-induced microtubular sheets have been clearly detected (monitored by the central scattering and the maximum corresponding to the J(n) Bessel function), which slowly close into microtubules (monitored by the appearance of their characteristic J(0), J(3), and J (n) - (3) Bessel function maxima). This provides direct evidence for the bidimensional assembly of taxoid-induced microtubule polymers in solution and argues against helical growth. The rate of microtubule formation was increased by the same factors known to enhance taxoid-induced microtubule stability. The results suggest that taxoids induce the accretion of the existing Mg(2+)-induced GDP-tubulin oligomers, thus forming small bidimensional polymers that are necessary to nucleate the microtubular sheets, possibly by binding to or modifying the lateral interaction sites between tubulin dimers

Topics: Q1, T1
Publisher: The Biophysical Society
Year: 1996
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:8175

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