Scientific article

Tubulin engineering by semi-synthesis reveals that polyglutamylation directs detyrosination

Published inNature chemistry, p. 1-30
Publication date2023-06-29
First online date2023-06-29

Microtubules, a critical component of the cytoskeleton, carry post-translational modifications (PTMs) that are important for the regulation of key cellular processes. Long-lived microtubules, in neurons particularly, exhibit both detyrosination of α-tubulin and polyglutamylation. Dysregulation of these PTMs can result in developmental defects and neurodegeneration. Owing to a lack of tools to study the regulation and function of these PTMs, the mechanisms that govern such PTM patterns are not well understood. Here we produce fully functional tubulin carrying precisely defined PTMs within its C-terminal tail. We ligate synthetic α-tubulin tails—which are site-specifically glutamylated—to recombinant human tubulin heterodimers by applying a sortase- and intein-mediated tandem transamidation strategy. Using microtubules reconstituted with these designer tubulins, we find that α-tubulin polyglutamylation promotes its detyrosination by enhancing the activity of the tubulin tyrosine carboxypeptidase vasohibin/small vasohibin-binding protein in a manner dependent on the length of polyglutamyl chains. We also find that modulating polyglutamylation levels in cells results in corresponding changes in detyrosination, corroborating the link between the detyrosination cycle to polyglutamylation.

Research group
Citation (ISO format)
EBBERINK, Eduard et al. Tubulin engineering by semi-synthesis reveals that polyglutamylation directs detyrosination. In: Nature chemistry, 2023, p. 1–30. doi: 10.1038/s41557-023-01228-8
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1755-4330

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Creation07/03/2023 9:40:12 AM
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