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

Linkages in tubulin-colchicine functions: the role of the ring C (C') oxygens and ring B in the controls.

Linkages between structural components of colchicine (COL) and its biphenyl analogues (allocolchicine, ALLO, and its analogues) in the binding to tubulin and its functional consequences were scrutinized. Three ring ALLO analogues with the carbomethoxyl in position 4' of ring C' replaced by a carbomethyl (KAC) and methoxy (MAC) groups were synthesized. The binding properties and consequences of binding (microtubule inhibition, abnormal polymerization, and induction of GTPase activity) were compared within the series of three ring and two ring compounds, as well as between pairs consisting of a two ring and a three ring compound with identical groups in position 4'. Binding measurements showed that the binding of KAC to the COL binding site proceeded with similar chemical characteristics as that of its two ring analogue (TKB), but with the kinetic characteristics of ALLO. The binding constant of KAC was found to be 1.9 x 10(6) M-1 and that of MAC was 4.6 x 10(5) M-1. The binding strength of the three ring analogues in descending order was KAC > ALLO > MAC, with increments similar to the biphenyl compounds, TKB > TCB > TMB. The difference in binding affinities between the pairs of three ring and two ring molecules was invariant (delta delta G degree = -1.3 +/- 0.2 kcal/mol-1), showing that in all cases ring B makes only an entropic contribution by suppressing free rotation about the biaryl bond. In the case of microtubule inhibition, all three ring compounds inhibited strongly with similar potencies, even though the spread in inhibition strength between the corresponding two ring molecules was > 3.3 kcal mol-1 of free energy. This difference was interpreted in terms of the ability of the various molecules to maintain tubulin in the proper conformation for binding in abnormal geometry to the growth end of a microtubule. This ability attains a maximal plateau value for three ring compounds, independently of the oxygen-containing group in ring C' (or C) and is maintained for the methyl ketone whether in a two or three ring compound. The induction of the GTPase activity was found to follow in general the binding affinity, with the exception that molecules that contained a methyl ketone were stronger GTPase inducers than expected from their alignment according to binding affinity. The finding that the binding of tropolone methyl ether (ring C of COL) induced a GTPase activity shows that ring C contains the ability to induce both substoichiometric microtubule inhibition and GTPase activity. Rings A and B act only as anchors in the binding, with ring A making an energetic contribution, while the effect of ring B is only entropic. It was concluded that both microtubule assembly inhibition and induction of GTPase activity were modulated by the same postbinding conformational change in tubulin. The difference between the strengths of these activities induced by ligands reflects the difference between a narrow allosteric effect between two well-defined sites in the case of GTPase activity and a broad effect aimed at the multiple sites involved in the incorporation of a tubulin protomer into the microtubule structure. Thus, there seems to be a loose thermodynamic linkage between binding and GTPase activity, while there is none between binding and microtubule inhibition, the two phenomena being linked only kinetically.[1]


  1. Linkages in tubulin-colchicine functions: the role of the ring C (C') oxygens and ring B in the controls. Pérez-Ramírez, B., Gorbunoff, M.J., Timasheff, S.N. Biochemistry (1998) [Pubmed]
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