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Chem Biol. 2012 Jun 22;19(6):686-98. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2012.05.008.

Zampanolide, a potent new microtubule-stabilizing agent, covalently reacts with the taxane luminal site in tubulin α,β-heterodimers and microtubules.

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School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6012, New Zealand.


Zampanolide and its less active analog dactylolide compete with paclitaxel for binding to microtubules and represent a new class of microtubule-stabilizing agent (MSA). Mass spectrometry demonstrated that the mechanism of action of both compounds involved covalent binding to β-tubulin at residues N228 and H229 in the taxane site of the microtubule. Alkylation of N228 and H229 was also detected in α,β-tubulin dimers. However, unlike cyclostreptin, the other known MSA that alkylates β-tubulin, zampanolide was a strong MSA. Modeling the structure of the adducts, using the NMR-derived dactylolide conformation, indicated that the stabilizing activity of zampanolide is likely due to interactions with the M-loop. Our results strongly support the existence of the luminal taxane site of microtubules in tubulin dimers and suggest that microtubule nucleation induction by MSAs may proceed through an allosteric mechanism.

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