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The location and properties of the Taxol binding center in microtubules: a picosecond laser study with fluorescent taxoids

AuthorsLillo, M. Pilar CSIC ORCID; Cañadas, O.; Dale, Robert. E.; Acuña, A. Ulises CSIC
KeywordsTaxol Binding Center
Fluorescent Taxoids
Issue Date2000
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
CitationBiochemistry 41, 12436-12449 (2002)
AbstractThe interaction of two bioactive, fluorescent analogues of the anticancer drug Taxol, Flutax1 [7-O-[N-(fluorescein-4‘-carbonyl)-l-alanyl]taxol] and Flutax2 [7-O-[N-(2,7-difluorofluorescein-4‘-carbonyl)-l-alanyl]taxol], with microtubules in solution has been studied with picosecond laser methods. As shown here, although a mixture of the fluorescein mono- and dianion species of Flutax1 is present in solution, the bound taxoid contains only the dianion form of the dye. This indicates strong electrostatic interactions at the microtubule lattice with the appending dye, most likely with charged residues of the M-loop of the β-tubulin subunit. Moreover, analysis of the dynamic depolarization of microtubule-bound Flutax at low binding site occupancy was consistent with a protein active center with significant conformational flexibility. On the other hand, for microtubules fully saturated with the taxoid, a new, additional depolarizing process was observed, with relaxation times of 14 ns (Flutax1) and 8 ns (Flutax2), which is due to Förster resonance energy homotransfer (FREHT) between neighboring dye molecules. Application of a detailed analysis of FREHT-induced depolarization in a circular array of dye molecules presented here yielded a separation between nearest-neighbor Flutax moieties of 40 ± 5 Å, for microtubules made up of between 12 and 14 protofilaments, a value that is only compatible with the Taxol binding site being located at the inner wall of the microtubule. The internal position of the drug molecular target as measured here is also consistent with other spectroscopic observations and confirms existing predictions based on microtubule structures modeled from high-resolution, electron density maps of αβ-tubulin.
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