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Issue 15, 2004
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Microtubule structure and its stabilisation

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Microtubules are designed to be dynamically unstable. GTP hydrolysis converts an initially stable polymeric structure into an unstable one in which strain at the interfaces between longitudinal neighbours in the helical lattice of subunits is balanced by lateral interactions. However, stability can be modulated by a variety of factors, including associated proteins and a variety of drug molecules. Stabilising drugs such as Taxol and the assembly-promoting repeat motifs of tau protein occupy a special pocket in β-tubulin. Microtubule destabilising drugs such as colchicine alter the longitudinal interfaces of the subunits so that they cannot assemble into a microtubule lattice. These mechanisms are discussed in terms of the atomic structure of the protein.

Graphical abstract: Microtubule structure and its stabilisation

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Mar 2004, accepted on 21 May 2004 and first published on 14 Jul 2004

Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/B403634D
Org. Biomol. Chem., 2004,2, 2153-2160

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    Microtubule structure and its stabilisation

    L. A. Amos, Org. Biomol. Chem., 2004, 2, 2153
    DOI: 10.1039/B403634D

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