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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Posttranslational nitrotyrosination of alpha-tubulin induces cell cycle arrest and inhibits proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells.

Hyperproliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells is a hallmark of atherosclerosis and related vascular complications. Microtubules are important for many aspects of mammalian cell responses including growth, migration and signaling. alpha-Tubulin, a component of the microtubule cytoskeleton, is unique amongst cellular proteins in that it undergoes a reversible posttranslational modification whereby the C-terminal tyrosine residue is removed (Glu-tubulin) and re-added (Tyr-tubulin). Whereas the reversible detyrosination/tyrosination cycle of alpha-tubulin has been implicated in regulating various aspects of cell biology, the precise function of this posttranslational modification has remained poorly characterized. Herein, we provide evidence suggesting that alpha-tubulin detyrosination is a required event in the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Proliferation of rat aortic smooth muscle cells in response to serum was temporally associated with the detyrosination of alpha-tubulin, but not acetylation of alpha-tubulin; Glu-tubulin reached maximal levels between 12 and 18h following cell cycle initiation. Inclusion of 3-nitro-l-tyrosine (NO(2)Tyr) in the culture medium resulted in the selective nitrotyrosination of alpha-tubulin, that was paralleled by decreased elaboration of Glu-tubulin, decreased expression of cyclins A and E, decreased association of the microtubule plus-end binding protein EB1, and inhibited cell proliferation. Nitrotyrosination of alpha-tubulin did not induce necrotic or apoptotic death of rat aortic smooth muscle cells, but instead led to cell cycle arrest at the G(1)/S boundary coincident with decreased DNA synthesis. Collectively, these results suggest that the C-terminus of alpha-tubulin and its detyrosination are functionally important as a molecular switch that regulates cell cycle progression in vascular smooth muscle cells.[1]


  1. Posttranslational nitrotyrosination of alpha-tubulin induces cell cycle arrest and inhibits proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Phung, A.D., Soucek, K., Kubala, L., Harper, R.W., Chlo?? Bulinski, J., Eiserich, J.P. Eur. J. Cell Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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