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Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 Aug 15;84(4):444-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2012.05.014. Epub 2012 May 23.

Interaction of pseudolaric acid B with the colchicine site of tubulin.

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Screening Technologies Branch, Developmental Therapeutics Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD 21702 USA.


We purified pseudolaric acid B (PAB) from the root and stem bark of Pseudolarix kaempferi (Lindl.) Gorden. Confirming previous findings, we found that the compound had high nanomolar IC₅₀ antiproliferative effects in several cultured cell lines, causing mitotic arrest and the disappearance of intracellular microtubules. PAB strongly inhibited tubulin assembly (IC₅₀, 1.1 μM) but weakly inhibited the binding of colchicine to tubulin, as demonstrated by fluorescence and with [³H]colchicine. Kinetic analysis demonstrated that the mechanism of inhibition was competitive, with an apparent K(i) of 12-15 μM. Indirect studies demonstrated that PAB bound rapidly to tubulin and dissociated more rapidly from tubulin than the colchicine analog 2-methoxy-5-(2',3',4'-trimethoxyphenyl)tropone, whose complex with tubulin is known to have a half-life of 17s at 37 °C. We modeled PAB into the colchicine site of tubulin, using the crystal structure 1SA0 that contains two αβ-tubulin heterodimers, both bound to a colchicinoid and to a stathmin fragment. The binding model of PAB revealed common pharmacophoric features between PAB and colchicinoids, not readily apparent from their chemical structures.

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