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Biochemistry. 2014 Sep 2;53(34):5551-7. doi: 10.1021/bi5007942. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Microtubule +TIP protein EB1 binds to GTP and undergoes dissociation from dimer to monomer on binding GTP.

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School of Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram , CET Campus, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695016, India.


The +TIP protein EB1 autonomously tracks the growing plus end of microtubules and regulates plus-end dynamics. Previous studies have indicated that EB1 can recognize GTP-bound tubulin structures at the plus end, and it localizes on the microtubule surface at a site close to the exchangeable GTP-binding site of tubulin. Although the GTP-dependent structural change in tubulin has been demonstrated to be a critical determinant for recognition of plus ends by EB1, the effect of GTP on the structure of EB1 has remained unclear. Here, we have used spectroscopic, calorimetric, and biochemical methods to analyze the effect of GTP on EB1 in vitro. Isothermal titration calorimetry and tryptophan fluorescence quenching experiments demonstrated that EB1 binds to GTP with a dissociation constant ~30 μM. Circular dichroism measurements showed that EB1 undergoes changes in its secondary structure on binding GTP. Size-exclusion chromatography and urea-induced unfolding analyses revealed that GTP binding induces dissociation of the EB1 dimer to monomers. Size-exclusion chromatography followed by biochemical analysis further determined that EB1-GTP binding involves association of approximately one molecule of GTP per EB1 monomer. The results reveal a hitherto unknown GTP-dependent mechanism of dimer-to-monomer transition in EB1 and further implicate its possible role in regulating the stability of the EB1 dimer vs monomer as well as plus-end regulation in cells.

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