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Microtubule structure by cryo-EM: snapshots of dynamic instability

Manka, SW; Moores, CA; (2018) Microtubule structure by cryo-EM: snapshots of dynamic instability. Essays in Biochemistry , 62 (6) pp. 737-751. 10.1042/EBC20180031. Green open access

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Abstract

The development of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) allowed microtubules to be captured in their solution-like state, enabling decades of insight into their dynamic mechanisms and interactions with binding partners. Cryo-EM micrographs provide 2D visualization of microtubules, and these 2D images can also be used to reconstruct the 3D structure of the polymer and any associated binding partners. In this way, the binding sites for numerous components of the microtubule cytoskeleton-including motor domains from many kinesin motors, and the microtubule-binding domains of dynein motors and an expanding collection of microtubule associated proteins-have been determined. The effects of various microtubule-binding drugs have also been studied. High-resolution cryo-EM structures have also been used to probe the molecular basis of microtubule dynamic instability, driven by the GTPase activity of β-tubulin. These studies have shown the conformational changes in lattice-confined tubulin dimers in response to steps in the tubulin GTPase cycle, most notably lattice compaction at the longitudinal inter-dimer interface. Although work is ongoing to define a complete structural model of dynamic instability, attention has focused on the role of gradual destabilization of lateral contacts between tubulin protofilaments, particularly at the microtubule seam. Furthermore, lower resolution cryo-electron tomography 3D structures are shedding light on the heterogeneity of microtubule ends and how their 3D organization contributes to dynamic instability. The snapshots of these polymers captured using cryo-EM will continue to provide critical insights into their dynamics, interactions with cellular components, and the way microtubules contribute to cellular functions in diverse physiological contexts.

Type: Article
Title: Microtubule structure by cryo-EM: snapshots of dynamic instability
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1042/EBC20180031
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1042/EBC20180031
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: cytoskeleton, cryo-electron microscopy, cryo-electron tomography, microtubule, MAPs, molecular motors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Institute of Prion Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Institute of Prion Diseases > MRC Prion Unit at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10073716
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