Tubulin cofactors and Arl2 are cage-like chaperones that regulate the soluble αβ-tubulin pool for microtubule dynamics
Stanley Nithianantham, Sinh Le, Elbert Seto, Weitao Jia, Julie Leary, Kevin D Corbett, Jeffrey K Moore, Jawdat Al-BassamCorresponding Author
University of California, Davis, United States; University of California, San Diego, United States; University of Colorado School of Medicine, United States
Source/Fonte: Jawdat Al-Bassam, UC Davis
Microtubule dynamics and polarity stem from the polymerization of αβ-tubulin heterodimers. Five conserved tubulin cofactors/chaperones and the Arl2 GTPase regulate α- and β-tubulin assembly into heterodimers and maintain the soluble tubulin pool in the cytoplasm, but their physical mechanisms are unknown. Here, we reconstitute a core tubulin chaperone consisting of tubulin cofactors TBCD, TBCE, and Arl2, and reveal a cage-like structure for regulating αβ-tubulin. Biochemical assays and electron microscopy structures of multiple intermediates show the sequential binding of αβ-tubulin dimer followed by tubulin cofactor TBCC onto this chaperone, forming a ternary complex in which Arl2 GTP hydrolysis is activated to alter αβ-tubulin conformation. A GTP-state locked Arl2 mutant inhibits ternary complex dissociation in vitro and causes severe defects in microtubule dynamics in vivo. Our studies suggest a revised paradigm for tubulin cofactors and Arl2 functions as a catalytic chaperone that regulates soluble αβ-tubulin assembly and maintenance to support microtubule dynamics.
Cells contain a network of protein filaments called microtubules. These filaments are involved in many biological processes; for example, they help cells keep the right shape, and they help to transport proteins and other materials inside cells.
Two proteins called α-tubulin and β-tubulin are the building blocks of microtubules. The filaments are very dynamic structures that can rapidly change length as individual tubulin units are either added or removed to the filament ends. Several proteins known as tubulin cofactors and an enzyme called Arl2 help to build a vast pool of tubulin units that are able attach to the microtubules. These units—called αβ-tubulin—are formed by α-tubulin and β-tubulin binding to each other, but it not clear exactly what roles the tubulin cofactors and Arl2 play in this process.
Nithianantham et al. used a combination of microscopy and biochemical techniques to study how the tubulin cofactors and Arl2 are organised, and their role in the assembly of microtubules in yeast. The experiments show that Arl2 and two tubulin cofactors associate with each other to form a stable ‘complex’ that has a cage-like structure. A molecule of αβ-tubulin binds to the complex, followed by another cofactor called TBCC. This activates the enzyme activity of Arl2, which releases the energy needed to alter the shape of the αβ-tubulin. Nithianantham et al. also found that yeast cells with a mutant form of Arl2 that lacked enzyme activity had problems forming microtubules.
Together, these findings show that the tubulin cofactors and Arl2 form a complex that regulates the assembly and maintenance of αβ-tubulin. The next challenge is to understand how this regulation influences the way that microtubules grow and shrink inside cells.
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