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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Apr 26;91(9):3964-8.

2-Methoxyestradiol, an endogenous mammalian metabolite, inhibits tubulin polymerization by interacting at the colchicine site.

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Department of Surgical Research, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


A metabolite of estradiol, 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME), inhibits angiogenesis in the chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay. Since 2ME causes mitotic perturbations, we examined its interactions with tubulin. In our standard 1.0 M glutamate system (plus 1.0 mM MgCl2 at 37 degrees C), superstoichiometric concentrations (relative to tubulin) of 2ME inhibited the nucleation and propagation phases of tubulin assembly but did not affect the reaction extent. Although polymer formed in the presence of 2ME was more cold-stable than control polymer, morphology was little changed. Under suboptimal reaction conditions (0.8 M glutamate/no MgCl2 at 26 degrees C), substoichiometric 2ME totally inhibited polymerization. No other estrogenic compound was as effective as 2ME as an inhibitor of polymerization or of the binding of colchicine to tubulin. Inhibition of colchicine binding was competitive (Ki, 22 microM). Thus, a mammalian metabolite of estradiol binds to the colchicine site of tubulin and, depending on reaction conditions, either inhibits assembly or seems to be incorporated into a polymer with altered stability properties.

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