Tubulin exchanges divalent cations at both guanine nucleotide-binding sites
Journal of Biological Chemistry
The tubulin heterodimer binds a molecule of GTP at the nonexchangeable nucleotide-binding site (N-site) and either GDP or GTP at the exchangeable nucleotide-binding site (E-site). Mg2+ is known to be tightly linked to the binding of GTP at the E-site (Correia, J. J., Baty, L. T., and Williams, R. C., Jr. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 17278-17284). Measurements of the exchange of Mn2+ for bound Mg2+ (as monitored by atomic absorption and EPR) demonstrate that tubulin which has GDP at the E-site
... P at the E-site possesses one high affinity metal-binding site and that tubulin which has GTP at the E-site possesses two such sites. The apparent association constants are 0.7-1.1 x 10(6) M-1 for Mg2+ and approximately 4.1-4.9 x 10(7) M-1 for Mn2+. Divalent cations do bind to GDP at the E-site, but with much lower affinity (2.0-2.3 x 10(3) M-1 for Mg2+ and 3.9-6.6 x 10(3) M-1 for Mn2+). These data suggest that divalent cations are involved in GTP binding to both the N- and E-sites of tubulin. The N-site metal exchanges slowly (kapp = 0.020 min-1), suggesting a mechanism involving protein "breathing" or heterodimer dissociation. The N-site metal exchange rate is independent of the concentration of protein and metal, an observation consistent with the possibility that a dynamic breathing process is the rate-limiting step. The exchange of Mn2+ for Mg2+ has no effect on the secondary structure of tubulin at 4 degrees C or on the ability of tubulin to form microtubules. These results have important consequences for the interpretation of distance measurements within the tubulin dimer using paramagnetic ions. They are also relevant to the detailed mechanism of divalent cation release from microtubules after GTP hydrolysis.