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J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 1;280(13):12658-67. Epub 2005 Jan 23.

Monastrol inhibition of the mitotic kinesin Eg5.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Monastrol is a small, cell-permeable molecule that arrests cells in mitosis by specifically inhibiting Eg5, a member of the Kinesin-5 family. We have used steady-state and presteady-state kinetics as well as equilibrium binding approaches to define the mechanistic basis of S-monastrol inhibition of monomeric human Eg5/KSP. In the absence of microtubules (Mts), the basal ATPase activity is inhibited through slowed product release. In the presence of microtubules, the ATPase activity is also reduced with weakened binding of Eg5 to microtubules during steady-state ATP turnover. Monastrol-treated Eg5 also shows a decreased relative affinity for microtubules under equilibrium conditions. The Mt.Eg5 presteady-state kinetics of ATP binding and the subsequent ATP-dependent isomerization are unaffected during the first ATP turnover. However, monastrol appears to stabilize a conformation that allows for reversals at the ATP hydrolysis step. Monastrol promotes a dramatic decrease in the observed rate of Eg5 association with microtubules, and ADP release is slowed without trapping the Mt.Eg5.ADP intermediate. We propose that S-monastrol binding to Eg5 induces a stable conformational change in the motor domain that favors ATP re-synthesis after ATP hydrolysis. The aberrant interactions with the microtubule and the reversals at the ATP hydrolysis step alter the ability of Eg5 to generate force, thereby yielding a nonproductive Mt.Eg5 complex that cannot establish or maintain the bipolar spindle.

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