Crystal structure of human gamma-tubulin bound to GDP

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 2.30 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.238 
  • R-Value Work: 0.187 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.189 

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The lattice as allosteric effector: structural studies of alphabeta- and gamma-tubulin clarify the role of GTP in microtubule assembly

Rice, L.M.Montabana, E.A.Agard, D.A.

(2008) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105: 5378-5383

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801155105
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    GTP-dependent microtubule polymerization dynamics are required for cell division and are accompanied by domain rearrangements in the polymerizing subunit, alphabeta-tubulin. Two opposing models describe the role of GTP and its relationship to conformational change in alphabeta-tubulin. The allosteric model posits that unpolymerized alphabeta-tubulin adopts a more polymerization-competent conformation upon GTP binding. The lattice model posits that conformational changes occur only upon recruitment into the growing lattice. Published data support a lattice model, but are largely indirect and so the allosteric model has prevailed. We present two independent solution probes of the conformation of alphabeta-tubulin, the 2.3 A crystal structure of gamma-tubulin bound to GDP, and kinetic simulations to interpret the functional consequences of the structural data. These results (with our previous gamma-tubulin:GTPgammaS structure) support the lattice model by demonstrating that major domain rearrangements do not occur in eukaryotic tubulins in response to GTP binding, and that the unpolymerized conformation of alphabeta-tubulin differs significantly from the polymerized one. Thus, geometric constraints of lateral self-assembly must drive alphabeta-tubulin conformational changes, whereas GTP plays a secondary role to tune the strength of longitudinal contacts within the microtubule lattice. alphabeta-Tubulin behaves like a bent spring, resisting straightening until forced to do so by GTP-mediated interactions with the growing microtubule. Kinetic simulations demonstrate that resistance to straightening opposes microtubule initiation by specifically destabilizing early assembly intermediates that are especially sensitive to the strength of lateral interactions. These data provide new insights into the molecular origins of dynamic microtubule behavior.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158-2517, USA.

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
tubulin gamma-1 chain
A, B
475Homo sapiensMutation(s): 0 
Gene Names: TUBG1TUBG
UniProt & NIH Common Fund Data Resources
Find proteins for P23258 (Homo sapiens)
Explore P23258 
Go to UniProtKB:  P23258
PHAROS:  P23258
GTEx:  ENSG00000131462 
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupP23258
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence
Small Molecules
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 2.30 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.238 
  • R-Value Work: 0.187 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.189 
  • Space Group: P 1 21 1
Unit Cell:
Length ( Å )Angle ( ˚ )
a = 51.744α = 90
b = 108.755β = 96.33
c = 83.347γ = 90
Software Package:
Software NamePurpose
ADSCdata collection
HKL-2000data reduction
HKL-2000data scaling

Structure Validation

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Entry History 

Deposition Data

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2008-06-10
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2011-07-13
    Changes: Version format compliance
  • Version 1.2: 2023-08-30
    Changes: Data collection, Database references, Derived calculations, Refinement description